Dworkin v. The Philosophers: A Review Essay on Justice in Robes

28 Pages Posted: 14 Oct 2007 Last revised: 22 Jan 2023


In this review essay, I argue that Dworkin's reputation among his fellow philosophers has needlessly suffered because of his refusal to back down from his "semantic sting" argument against H. L. A. Hart. Philosophers of law have uniformly rejected the semantic sting argument as a fallacy. Nevertheless Dworkin reaffirms the argument in "Justice in Robes," his most recent collection of essays, and devotes much of the book to stubbornly, and unsuccessfully, defending it. This is a pity, because the failure of the semantic sting argument in no way undermines Dworkin's other arguments against Hart.

Keywords: Ronald Dworkin, semantics, philosophy of law, jurisprudence, semantic sting

Suggested Citation

Green, Michael S., Dworkin v. The Philosophers: A Review Essay on Justice in Robes. University of Illinois Law Review, Vol. 5, 2007 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1019793

Michael S. Green (Contact Author)

William & Mary Law School ( email )

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