What are Principles, and Do They Exist?

16 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2013

See all articles by Larry Alexander

Larry Alexander

University of San Diego School of Law

Date Written: June 10, 2013


In this paper I distinguish principles from rules and standards and ask if there are norms that fit this description. I conclude that these may be moral principles but that there are no legal principles. Accounts of law such as Dworkin’s and Alexy’s, in which legal principles play a role, are thus vitiated.

Keywords: principles, rules, standards

JEL Classification: K10, K39

Suggested Citation

Alexander, Lawrence, What are Principles, and Do They Exist? (June 10, 2013). San Diego Legal Studies Paper No. 13-119. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2277787 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2277787

Lawrence Alexander (Contact Author)

University of San Diego School of Law ( email )

5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110-2492
United States
619-260-2317 (Phone)
619-260-4728 (Fax)

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