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Law's Empire


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About the Author

Ronald Dworkin is the Quain Professor of Jurisprudence at University College,London. He was formerly Professor of Jurisprudence at University College, Oxford, and he remains Professor at New York University.


Dworkin (Jurisprudence, Oxford; and Law, NYU) sets out a theory of how judges determine what the law is and its application in hard cases where no set tled or clear rule of law disposes of a matter, testing his theory in common law cases turning on statutes and con stitutional cases. He posits that propo sitions of law are correctly established not because they represent a consensus or an efficient means to social goals, but because they answer the require ment that a political community act in a coherent, just, and principled manner toward all of its members. An exceed ingly complex work which echoes cer tain of his previous writings, this vol ume will be of primary interest to scholars with an intense disciplinary in terest. For subject collections. Merlin Whiteman, Dann Pecar Newman Ta lesnick & Kleiman, Indianapolis

As an advocate Dworkin is tirelessly fluent and endlessly inventive... and this is a surprisingly fraternal book, open, busy, engaging and teeming with ideas. It will give many readers a great deal of pleasure and instruction. John Dunn Times Literary Supplement September 2002 Laws Empire stands out for intellectual deftness, elegance and surprisingness. Alan Ryan New Society September 2002 Laws Empire is a rich and multilayered work ... unusually accessible for a work dealing with abstract questions at such a high level. It is an ambitious book, and it does not disappoint the expectations appropriate to a major work by an important thinker. Thomas Nagel London Review of Books September 2002 Breaks new ground in a way that is both provocative and convincing. D.D. Raphael Times Higher Education Supplement September 2002

In this first full-length exposition of his theory of law, Dworkin, who teaches jurisprudence at Oxford University and New York University, maintains that society should ensure for all its members a legal system that functions in a coherent and principled manner. In prose accessible to the lay reader, he discusses at length several views of American constitutional law such as ``passivism'' and ``framers' intention.'' Rejecting both conventionalism and pragmatism, he advocates law as integrity which holds that propositions of law are true if they derive from justice, fairness and procedural due process in accordance with the community's legal practice. Citing examples, he further argues that law should be more than a collection of formal guidelines and that it should uphold more abstract moral principles, distinguishing between issues of policy and matters of principle affecting rights of the individual. Uniting jurisprudence with adjudication, Dworkin sees each judge as a link in a chain of law of which his or her judgment becomes a part. (May)

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