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Legal Obligation and Aesthetic Ideals: A Renewed Legal Positivist Theory of Law's Normativity

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This article supports H. L. A. Hart's “any reasons” thesis (defended consistently from the first edition of The Concept of Law in 1961 to the Postscript to the second edition of 1994) that legal officials may accept law for any reasons, including non-moral reasons. I develop a conception of non-moral aesthetic ideals of official conduct which may provide legal officials with reasons to accept and apply even morally iniquitous law. I use this conception in order to rebut Gerald Postema's and Joseph Raz's criticisms of Hart's view, and suggest that my revisions offer reasons for renewed confidence in Hart's account of law's normativity.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of New Brunswick, Department of Philosophy, E3B 5A3 Fredericton, NB, Canada.

Publication date: June 1, 2001

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