In Defense of Legal Positivism

In Defense of Legal Positivism : Law Without Trimmings

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In Defense of Legal Positivism is an uncompromising defence of legal positivism that insists on the separability of law and morality. After distinguishing among three facets of morality, Matthew Kramer explores a variety of ways in which law has been perceived as integrally connected to each of those facets.

Some of the chapters pose arguments against other major theorists such as David Lyons, Lon Fuller, Joseph Raz, Michael Detmold, Ronald Dworkin, Nigel Simmonds, John Finnis, Philip Soper, neil McCormick, gerald Postema, Stephen Perry, and Michael Moore, while others extend rather than defend legal positivism; they refine the insights of legal positivism and develop the implications of those insights in strikingly novel directions. The book concludes with a detailed discussion of the obligation
to obey the lae- a discussion that highlights the strengths of legal positivism in the domain of political philosophy as much as in the domain of jurisprudence.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 324 pages
  • 156 x 235 x 18mm | 472g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 019926483X
  • 9780199264834
  • 988,730

Table of contents

Preface ; 1. Introduction ; PART I: POSITIVISM DEFENDED ; 2. Justice as Constancy ; 3. Scrupulousness Without Scruples: A Critique of Lon Fuller and His Defenders ; 4. Requirements, Reasons, and Raz: Legal Positivism and Legal Duties ; 5. The Law in Action: A Study in Good and Evil ; 6. Also Among the Prophets: Some Rejoinders to Ronald Dworkin's Attacks on Legal Positivism ; PART II: POSITIVISM EXTENDED ; 7. Disclaimers and Reassertions ; 8. Elements of a Conceptual Framework ; 9. Law and Order: Some Implications ; Index
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Review quote

Review from previous edition Kramer's analysis is detailed, thoroughgoing and comprehensive. He lays bare the fundamental disagreements between positivist and anti-positivist theorists, and in the process promotes a richer understanding of the view he seeks to defend. * Philosophical Quarterly * Matthew Kramer, with characteristic vigour and analytical force, presents a staunch defense of positivism against many popular forms of idealism and rejects many of the concessions that positivism has made to idealism....Kramer's defence of legal positivism is a powerful synthesis of the ideas of some of the most well-known expositors of the doctrine.
Whilst his general approach is negative - in that he attempts to provide rebuttals to many of the more popular idealist attacks on positivism - he does present a positive thesis, and it is on this that attention is focused. His positive argument skilfully combines Hartian, Austinian and Hobbesian jurisprudence....Kramer's analyses make stimulating
reading....[H]e manages to clear much dead wood from the debate concerning the moral content of law and provides interesting arguments to which thosen of a different persuasion will have to respond * Patrick Capps, Modern Law Review, Sept. 2000. * Kramer provides an exhaustive defense of legal positivism against those who attribute a necessary relationship between law and morality... [H]is argument is a useful counterweight to the predominance of liberal moralizing and American parochialism that plagues contemporary legal theorizing...Kramer thus performs a valuable reminder to his fellow legal theorists that the act of maintaining the law by judges can be as self-interested and hypocritical as can the
partisan business of legislation. One hopes that legal scholars have not become too pious (or self-interested, for that matter) to take up Kramer's challenge. * The Law and Politics Book Review Vol.10 No.1 * Matthew Kramer's defence of legal positivism [is] densely and intelligently argued....[An] enormous investment of intellectual energy * Oxford Journal of Legal Studies * Matthew Kramer's recent defense of legal positivism [is] one of the clearest and most powerful analyses to appear in recent years. * Philip Soper *
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About Matthew H. Kramer

Matthew Kramer is Professor of Legal and Political Philosophy at the University of Cambridge, and fellow and director of studies in Law at Churchill College Cambridge.
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