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Lon Fuller's Political Jurisprudence of Freedom

Jerusalem Review of Legal Studies (2014) (Part of a symposium on "The Morality of Law at 50").

Osgoode CLPE Research Paper No. 55/2013

28 Pages Posted: 6 Jan 2014  

Dan Priel

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School

Date Written: December 30, 2013

Abstract

Lon Fuller wrote extensively on freedom, but these writings are now largely unread. It is rare to find them mentioned, rarer still to see any attempt to relate their ideas to Fuller’s writings on law and legal theory. Perhaps reflecting the widely-accepted dichotomy between jurisprudence (conceptual) and political theory (normative), these works are thought irrelevant to discussions on the nature of law. Fuller himself, however, never accepted this dichotomy, so in this essay I try to offer an alternative reading of Fuller’s Morality of Law in light of his writings on freedom. I argue that Fuller’s book should be understood as part of a broadly "republican" view of freedom, which sees both law and freedom as the opposite of tyranny. I argue that there is considerable textual support both in The Morality of Law and in his writings on freedom for a normative account of the nature of law, one that does not exist peacefully alongside (let alone presuppose) a conceptual inquiry, but rather challenges the possibility of value-neutral conceptual analysis of law.

Keywords: Lon Fuller, republicanism, freedom, conceptual jurisprudence, rule of law

Suggested Citation

Priel, Dan, Lon Fuller's Political Jurisprudence of Freedom (December 30, 2013). Jerusalem Review of Legal Studies (2014) (Part of a symposium on "The Morality of Law at 50").; Osgoode CLPE Research Paper No. 55/2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2374974

Dan Priel (Contact Author)

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
Canada

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