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Are There Any Rules?

Timothy Endicott
The Journal of Ethics
Vol. 5, No. 3, Morality and the Law: The Contributions of Ronald Dworkin to the Philosophy of Law (2001), pp. 199-220
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25115693
Page Count: 22
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Are There Any Rules?
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Abstract

The "model of rules" that Ronald Dworkin attacks is an absurd model of law, if rules are taken to be standards that have no unspecified counterinstances, and whose application is always uncontroversial. Dworkin gives good reason to think that there are no such standards or virtually none in (e.g.) English law. But the model of rules is not misconceived, as Dworkin claims. Rather, it needs a better understanding of the idea of a rule. I argue that the view that the law of a community is a system of rules needs to meet an important challenge that Dworkin has raised for jurisprudence: to account for the fact that legal rights and duties are frequently controversial. I give an account of social rules that explains why controversy over their application in particular cases is common, and can be deep. So controversy gives no reason to reject the model of rules.

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