New York University Public Law and Legal Theory Working Papers

Document Type

Article

Abstract

General jurisprudence purports to consider law in general. But to break out of the arid abstractions of analytic legal philosophy, it may be worth also giving some jurisprudential consideration to the distinctive features of law in the context of a particular kind of political system. This paper considers the jurisprudence of law in a modern democracy. It explores a suggestion (made by Ronald Dworkin and others) that legal positivism might be a theory particularly apt for a democracy. And it explores the meaning and significance for democratic political theory of ideas like the generality of law, the separation of law and morality, the sources thesis, and law's public orientation. At the very end, the paper also considers Jean-Jacques Rousseau's view that the word "law" should be confined to measures that are applicable to all, made by all, and enacted in the spirit of a general will.

Date of Authorship for this Version

December 2008

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