H. L. A. Hart’s Moderate Indeterminacy Thesis Reconsidered: In Between Scylla and Charybdis?

Problema: Anuario de Filosofia y Teoria del Derecho, No. 5, 2011, pp. 147-173

Georgetown Public Law Research Paper No. 12-162

28 Pages Posted: 11 Sep 2012 Last revised: 27 Oct 2012

See all articles by Imer B. Flores

Imer B. Flores

Instituto de Investigaciones Juridicas, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM)

Date Written: October 15, 2011

Abstract

In this article, in the context of the fiftieth anniversary of H. L. A. Hart’s The Concept of Law, I reconsider the moderate indeterminacy of law thesis, which derives from the open texture of language. For that purpose, I intend: first, to analyze Hart’s moderate indeterminacy thesis, i.e. determinacy in “easy cases” and indeterminacy in “hard cases,” which resembles Aristotle’s “doctrine of the mean”; second, to criticize his thesis as failing to embody the virtues of a center in between the vices of the extremes, by insisting that the exercise of discretion required constitutes an “interstitial” legislation; and, third, to reorganize an argument for a truly “mean” position, which requires a form of weak interpretative discretion, instead of a strong legislative discretion.

Keywords: discretion, indeterminacy, interpretation, legislation, formalism, rule-skepticism

JEL Classification: K00, K30, K39

Suggested Citation

Flores, Imer B., H. L. A. Hart’s Moderate Indeterminacy Thesis Reconsidered: In Between Scylla and Charybdis? (October 15, 2011). Problema: Anuario de Filosofia y Teoria del Derecho, No. 5, 2011, pp. 147-173, Georgetown Public Law Research Paper No. 12-162, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2144929

Imer B. Flores (Contact Author)

Instituto de Investigaciones Juridicas, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM) ( email )

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Mexico
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HOME PAGE: http://www.juridicas.unam.mx/invest/directorio/investigador.htm?p=imer

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