a1 Oxford University
In Law's Empire Prof. Ronald Dworkin has advanced a new theory of law, complex and intriguing. He calls it law as integrity. But in some ways the more radical and surprising claim he makes is that not only were previous legal philosophers mistaken about the nature of law, they were also mistaken about the nature of the philosophy of law or jurisprudence. Perhaps it is possible to summarize his main contentions on the nature of jurisprudence in three theses: First, jurisprudence is interpretive: “General theories of law… aim to interpret the main point and structure of legal practice” (LE, 90). Second, legal philosophy cannot be a semantic account of the word “law.” Legal philosophers “cannot produce useful semantic theories of law” (id.). Third, legal philosophy or jurisprudence “is the general part of adjudication, silent prologue to any decision at law” (id.).
* The author is a Professor of the Philosophy of Law.