Jules L. Coleman

in The Oxford Handbook of Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

Published in print January 2004 | ISBN: 9780199270972
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Law


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This article presents and explores the methodological questions of jurisprudence in the terms in which Dworkin, Perry, and Hart have formulated them. It considers the case for normative jurisprudence and assesses many of the arguments advanced by its most keen and competent advocates. It further assesses Leiter's claims on behalf of naturalism and Dworkin's arguments for a normative jurisprudence. Normative jurisprudence makes two distinct but related claims. It claims that an analysis of law should be oriented towards the self-conception of participants in the legal system. It provides an understanding for a range of important legal theories as alternative attempts to explicate the inherent potential of law to realize a morally attractive ideal of governance. The argument from commendation is summarized. These theories provide more compelling and illuminating explanations of empirical phenomena.

Keywords: methodological questions; naturalism; normative jurisprudence; self-conception; legal theories

Article.  22563 words. 

Subjects: Law ; Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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