Jurisprudential Disagreements and Descriptivism

22 Pages Posted: 1 Sep 2013

See all articles by Dan Priel

Dan Priel

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School

Date Written: August 30, 2013

Abstract

Many contemporary legal philosophers argue that general jurisprudence is “descriptive.” I challenge this view in this essay by focusing on one familiar aspect of jurisprudence: persistent disagreements among legal philosophers. I argue that this fact is in tension with the claim that jurisprudence is descriptive. I consider several possible reconciliations of jurisprudential disagreements with descriptivism, but I argue that none of them succeeds. I then argue that persistent jurisprudential disagreements are easy to explain from within a normative framework. I conclude by suggesting that legal philosophers abandon descriptivism in favor of a view that more explicitly sees legal philosophy as part of normative political philosophy.

Keywords: jurisprudence, descriptive jurisprudence, jurisprudential methodology, legal positivism, H.L.A. Hart

Suggested Citation

Priel, Dan, Jurisprudential Disagreements and Descriptivism (August 30, 2013). Osgoode CLPE Research Paper No. 43/2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2318588 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2318588

Dan Priel (Contact Author)

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
Canada

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