Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1103569
 
 

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The Standard Picture and its Discontents


Mark Greenberg


UCLA School of Law and Department of Philosophy

June 2, 2010

Oxford Studies in the Philosophy of Law, Vol. 1, 2010
UCLA School of Law Research Paper No. 08-07

Abstract:     
In this paper, I argue that there is a picture of how law works that most legal theorists are implicitly committed to and take to be common ground. This Standard Picture (SP, for short) is generally unacknowledged and unargued for. SP leads to a characteristic set of concerns and problems and yields a distinctive way of thinking about how law is supposed to operate. I suggest that the issue of whether SP is correct is a fundamental one for the philosophy of law, more basic, for example, than the issue that divides legal positivists and anti-positivists, at least as the latter issue is ordinarily understood.

The goals of the paper are fourfold: 1) to identify and articulate in some detail the Standard Picture; 2) to show that SP is widely held and has important consequences for other debates in the philosophy of law; 3) to show that SP leads to a serious theoretical problem; 4) to sketch an alternative picture that promises to avoid this problem. I emphasize the modesty of these goals in one respect. I make no claim to refute SP or to fully develop and defend an alternative picture.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 89

Keywords: authority, authoritative, command paradigm, concurrence hypothesis, content of the law, dependence view, explanatory directness, philosophy of law, legal positivism, legal authority, law and morality, law and reasons, morality, obligation, obligation to obey the law, standard picture

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Date posted: March 11, 2008 ; Last revised: June 3, 2010

Suggested Citation

Greenberg, Mark, The Standard Picture and its Discontents (June 2, 2010). Oxford Studies in the Philosophy of Law, Vol. 1, 2010; UCLA School of Law Research Paper No. 08-07. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1103569

Contact Information

Mark Greenberg (Contact Author)
UCLA School of Law and Department of Philosophy ( email )
385 Charles E. Young Dr. East
Room 1242
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1476
United States
(310) 206-1337 (Phone)
(310) 825-6023 (Fax)
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