Beyond the Separability Thesis: Moral Semantics and the Methodology of Jurisprudence
Author: Coleman, Jules L
Source: Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, Volume 27, Number 4, Winter 2007 , pp. 581-608(28)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Abstract:In emphasizing the importance of the separability thesis, legal philosophers have inadequately appreciated other philosophically important ways in which law and morality are or might be connected with one another. In this article, I argue that the separability thesis cannot shoulder the philosophical burdens that it has been asked to bear. I then turn to two issues of greater importance to jurisprudence. These are ‘the moral semantics of law’ and ‘the normativity of theory construction in jurisprudence’. The moral semantics claim is that legal content is best understood as moral directives about what is to be done and who is to decide what is to be done. The problem is that legal positivists typically hold that only social facts contribute to the content of law, and it is hard to see how a positivist can hold both the social-facts claim and the moral-semantics claim. I argue that not only are the two claims consistent with one another, but that legal positivists must hold some version of the moral semantics claim if they are to make sense of the claim that legal reasons purport to be content-independent moral reasons for acting. In
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2007-12-01
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