Is General Jurisprudence Interesting?

34 Pages Posted: 3 May 2015

See all articles by David Enoch

David Enoch

Hebrew University - The Philosophy Department and the Law School

Date Written: May 1, 2015


I have to confess I find it hard to get excited over general jurisprudence. I don’t find it hard to get excited about many philosophical topics. I think that by now I’ve been around the jurisprudence circles for long enough to be reasonably confident that it’s not just about me, and to try to explain my doubts. This is what I try to do in this paper.

In this paper, I compare general jurisprudence to metaethics, showing how the former is not interesting in the ways the latter is. A major part of what makes metaethics interesting is the full-blooded normativity of morality. The law, however, is not full-bloodedly normative. And while it is formally normative – it generates criteria of correctness – this is not remotely enough to render jurisprudence interesting. I also note that response-dependence – a highly controversial view in metaethics – is the obvious way to go in jurisprudence, and that general jurisprudential issues are unlikely to have implications for normative legal theory.

Keywords: Jurisprudence, the Normativity of Law, Legal Positivism, Metaethics, Normativity

Suggested Citation

Enoch, David, Is General Jurisprudence Interesting? (May 1, 2015). Available at SSRN: or

David Enoch (Contact Author)

Hebrew University - The Philosophy Department and the Law School ( email )

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