The Elusive Sources of Hart’s Ideas in <i>The Concept of Law</i>

AW Brian Simpson

in Reflections on 'The Concept of Law'

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199693320
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731983 | DOI:
The Elusive Sources of Hart’s Ideas in The Concept of Law

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This chapter attempts to tease out Hart's ideas and their sources, if discoverable, from some of the more important of his publications which preceded the publication of The Concept of Law. It suggests that Hart's response to Bodenheimer is the closest he ever came to publishing a prolegomenon to his analysis of the concept of law, and of a legal system. It sets out in some detail ideas which were to feature prominently in The Concept of Law, for example the limitations on the usefulness of definition per genus et differentiam, the analysis of the concept of legal obligation, the importance in conceptual analysis of identifying the paradigm or standard case, the distinction between ambiguity and structural complexity, and the Aristotelian insistence that the application of one word to different things does not entail the idea that they all share a common feature, but that the explanation might lie in ‘varying relationships to a central notion, or by analogy’.

Keywords: HLA Hart; The Concept of Law; Bodenheimer; prolegomenon; legal system

Chapter.  13032 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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