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The legal and political philosophy of Ronald Dworkin.

Guest, Stephen Francis Dexter; (1991) The legal and political philosophy of Ronald Dworkin. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D.), University College London. Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis advances a comprehensive and coherent interpretation of Dworkin's ideas. It considers the main criticisms that have been levelled against them and supplies and considers others, concluding that the interpretation offered here provides, in general, a good defence. The thesis includes a biographical sketch, an evaluation of the context of Dworkinian jurisprudence and an exhaustive bibliography. In addition to the published writings, it draws upon unpublished materials and personal conversations. In particular, it is suggested that standard accounts of Dworkin's work tend to overstress his attacks on positivism. Dworkin is right in his characterisation of the "plain fact" view of law, but Hart's theory can be rescued from the claim that it is a plain fact theory and that it is a "semantic" version of it. Dworkin's claims to objectivity in legal reasoning outside of demonstration are also well-founded and his interpretive analogy with art provides important analytical insights. While the right to be treated with concern and respect is the principle underpinning the ideas of integrity and resources, Dworkin's idea that rights "trump" goals applies only to actual communal practices pursuing such goals. In an ideal World, Dworkin is right to abandon welfare as a metric of distribution, but his use of the alternative metric of resources does not strictly follow from the collapse of equality of welfare. Nevertheless, his resources analysis supports the intuition that economic analysis is relevant to legal argument. Further, given the role of resources, it is natural that Dworkin should assert liberty to be part of the market baseline governing distribution. Finally, Dworkin is right to view communitarian duties as continuous with personal ethics but there are problems in his denial of the idea, implicit in Rawls, that justice is an interpretive concept.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D.
Title: The legal and political philosophy of Ronald Dworkin.
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis Digitised by Proquest.
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10124532
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