Four Neglected Prescriptions of Hartian Legal Philosophy

33 Pages Posted: 9 Aug 2013

See all articles by Kevin Toh

Kevin Toh

University College London

Date Written: August 7, 2013


This paper seeks to uncover, delineate, and rationally reconstruct four theoretical prescriptions that H.L.A. Hart urged philosophers to observe and follow when investigating and theorizing about the nature of law. The four prescriptions may appear meager and insignificant when each is seen in isolation, but together as an interconnected package they have substantial implications. And they constitute a central part of Hart's campaign to put philosophical investigations into the nature of law onto a path to a genuine research program. The paper takes note of certain prevalent and robust trends in contemporary legal philosophy that detract its practitioners from the four prescriptions, and that have them revert to some of the older modes of thinking from which Hart sought a decisive break. A number of contemporary legal philosophers' views and commitments are taken up and assessed, and in particular those of John Gardner and Leslie Green.

Keywords: H.L.A. Hart, context principle, internal legal statements, oblique analysis, presupposition, John Gardner, Leslie Green

Suggested Citation

Toh, Kevin, Four Neglected Prescriptions of Hartian Legal Philosophy (August 7, 2013). Available at SSRN: or

Kevin Toh (Contact Author)

University College London ( email )

Gower St
London WC1E OEG, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

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