Authority, Legitimacy and Obligation in Law's Empire (and Justice for Hedgehogs)
10 Pages Posted: 2 May 2014
Date Written: June 6, 2011
In June 2011 a closed seminar was held in the Faculty of Law at the University of Oxford to mark the 25th anniversary of the publication of Law’s Empire. Papers were sent to Ronald Dworkin in advance, and he commented on them at appropriate points in the seminar. This is the appreciative paper I contributed. It revises the account I gave in 1987 of Dworkin’s theory of authority, belatedly crediting it with substance and richness (and a traditional character) that I had overlooked. Still, my 1987 comments on the thinness of Dworkin’s account of the human goods at stake are retained and are extended in the present paper to critique the thinness of his account of the cultural and other presuppositions or prerequisites of sustainable political communities and their authority structures. This critique doubtless extends to all theories of merely “constitutional" patriotism.
Keywords: Dworkin, authority, nations, political association, constitutional patriotism, obligation of law
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