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Judging Positivism

By: Margaret Martin
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Published: 01-12-2014
Format: PDF eBook (?)
Edition: 1st
Extent: 198
ISBN: 9781782251781
Imprint: Hart Publishing
RRP: £54.00
Online price : £43.20
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About Judging Positivism

Judging Positivism is a critical exploration of the method and substance of legal positivism. Margaret Martin is primarily concerned with the manner in which theorists who adopt the dominant positivist paradigm ask a limited set of questions and offer an equally limited set of answers, artificially circumscribing the field of legal philosophy in the process. The book focuses primarily but not exclusively on the writings of prominent legal positivist, Joseph Raz. Martin argues that Raz's theory has changed over time and that these changes have led to deep inconsistencies and incoherencies in his account. One re-occurring theme in the book is that Razian positivism collapses from within. In the process of defending his own position, Raz is led to support the views of many of his main rivals, namely, Ronald Dworkin, the legal realists and the normative positivists. The internal collapse of Razian positivism proves to be instructive. Promising paths of inquiry come into view and questions that have been suppressed or marginalised by positivists re-emerge ready for curious minds to reflect on anew. The broader vision of jurisprudential inquiry defended in this book re-connects philosophy with the work of practitioners and the worries of law's subjects, bringing into focus the relevance of legal philosophy for lawyers and laymen alike.

Table Of Contents

1. Setting the Stage: Practical Reason and Norms Reconsidered
I. Practical Reason and Norms and Exclusionary Reasons
II. Exclusionary Reasons and the Legal Sphere: Issues of Method and Substance
III. Between Chaos and Order: Judges as Wielders of Our Collective Fate
IV. Common Law Systems: A Counter-Example
2. Between Fact and Value
I. The Sources Thesis Defined and Defended
II. Raz's Rule-Plus-Exception Model
III. Casting Law in a New Light
IV. Identifying Rules: A Herculean Task
V. Between Fact and Value
3. The Perils of Positivism: Why Raz becomes a Realist
I. Law's Autonomy Considered and Reconsidered
II. Legal Rights and Legal Realism
III. Back to the Settled Core
IV. Law's Claim to Authority: Raz's Way Out?
V. A Story about Law and Order Retold
4. Raz's The Morality of Freedom: Two Models of Authority
I. Raz's Focal Concept of Authority
II. The Analogy of the Arbitrator: From Consent to Normal Justification
III. Pre-emption versus Normal Justification: Seeking Coherence
IV. Methodology: The Source of the Tension?
V. Co-ordination Problems and Razian Authority
5. Law as Public Practical Reasons Revisited
I. The Sources Thesis: Defined and Redefined
II. Sources, Certainty, and Public Practical Reasons
III. The Weak Autonomy Thesis
IV. The Sources Thesis and Interpretation: Nuance or Nuisance?
V. Why Reason like Raz?
VI. Law and Order: Some Reflections on Method
6. The Path Not Taken
I. Hart and the Internal Aspect of Rules
II. A Little Help from Holmes
III. Between Chaos and Legality: The Sources of Certainty
IV. Content Matters
V. Is Law Merely Conventional?
7. The Raz–Postema Debate Deconstructed
Law as Public Practical Reason: Raz versus Postema
A. Law's Ultimate Aspiration is Justice
B. Law's Overarching Function
C. The Autonomy Thesis
D. The Limited Domain Thesis
E. The Argument from Co-operation
F. Methodology and Law's Importance
G. The Relationship between the Pre-emption Thesis and the Sources Thesis
H. The Certainty Thesis
I. The Sources Thesis
J. The Pre-emption Thesis


“It is a pleasure to read a work of jurisprudence that is accessibly written. Given the complexity of the subject matter, the author has done well to present it in a way which can be understood easily…Her serious and thoughtful engagement with Raz's output over 40 years merits being read widely.” –  John Bell, The Cambridge Law Journal

“[This] book is a scholarly and academic work, logically organized, with every assertion carefully developed and documented.” –  Gail Brown, Canadian Law Library

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