Lessons from Hart
Wil J. Waluchow
November 21, 2011
In this paper, I defend H.L.A. Hart against two prevalent criticisms of his views on social rules and the obligations with which these rules are often associated. These criticisms, I argue, rely on misunderstandings or mischaracterizations of what Hart actually intended and are plausibly explained by a failure on the part of his critics to appreciate fully two of the valuable lessons Hart sought to communicate in his inaugural lecture. First, words like ‘rule’ and ‘obligation’ should not be removed from their various contexts of use and subjected to abstract philosophical definition and analysis. Second, when analyzing assertions in which such words figure in both legal practice and theory, it is crucial to bear in mind the different functions these assertions can be made to serve and the different perspectives from which they can be uttered.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 21
Keywords: H.L.A. Hart, social rule, obligation, Himma, Shapiroworking papers series
Date posted: November 22, 2011
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