Institutions and the Concept of Law: A Reply to Ronald Dworkin (with Some Help from Neil Maccormick)
LAW AS INSTITUTIONAL NORMATIVE ORDER: ESSAYS IN HONOUR OF SIR NEIL MACCORMICK, M. Del Mar, ed., Ashgate, 2009
17 Pages Posted: 22 May 2009
Date Written: May 12, 2009
Ronald Dworkin has maintained, against me and others, that thinking about law 'as a kind of social institution' 'has neither much practical nor philosophical interest.' This reply challenges that claim, arguing that the social and institutional status of a norm-generating institution may be essential for the identification legal norms. Anti-positivists such as Dworkin deny this, but it then turns out that the claim of a lack of practical or philosophical importance for legal institutions as institutions presupposes the falsity of legal positivism. Legal positivism may perhaps be unsound, but only if that is true, and perhaps not even if it is true, does the institutional status of law have neither practical nor philosophical interest.
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