Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments

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Brocker I 594
Legal Positivism/DworkinVsLegal Positivism/DworkinVsUtilitarianism/Dworkin:[Legal] positivists and utilitarians are united by their opposition to the idea of natural, morally predetermined rights for the state. Positivists reject them because they attribute all normative facts of the law to social facts such as legislation and judicial further training in law. Utilitarians deny them because their last criterion is the social (overall) benefit. Against both perspectives, Dworkin wants to defend a law-based theory to which his book title refers.
Brocker I 596
Legal Positivism/DworkinVsPositivism/DworkinVsHart, L. H. A.: Dworkin rejects a system of rules like Hart's: see Rules/Hart, Law/Hart: instead, one must distinguish between law and principles. ((s) Thus Dworkin is influenced by Kant). Rules are either valid or not - however, principles can collide without at least one of them having to be invalid.
Principles/Dworkin: have a certain weight and indicate in which direction arguments point. (1)
Brocker I 599
DworkinVsPositivism: no description of law is possible that does not include judgmental judgements. For illustration, Dworkin introduces the character of the talented judge Hercules, who knows all the important institutional facts of law and its history, as well as all principles and goals. This allows him to make an accurate assessment of the law in an overall context.
Justification/Dworkin: thesis: the justification of law in a matter of best available arguments is substantial in nature. Dworkin therefore sees no problem in the fact that his ideal judge is an isolated hero who apparently interprets the law monologically.
VsDworkin: siehe Michelman 1986 (2), 76; Habermas 1994 (3).
Jurisdiction/Dworkin: Responsible judges, according to Dworkin, do not succumb to the temptation to seek reasons and points of view outside the law just because so far no article of the constitution, no legal text and no explicit judgment provide authoritative information on a difficult case.
Brocker I 600
Legal PositivismVsDworkin: a positivist could argue that Dworkin only wants the American legal system to appear in the most positive light possible, but his approach is unsuitable for giving general assessments of legal systems, such as today's Iranian legal system. Dworkin's approach is unsuitable because it already presupposes that a legal system must embody rational contents such as the idea of individual rights
Brocker I 601
against the state. However, this is not a conceptual characteristic of law, but a fragile and in fact not generally recognised achievement of legal history.


1. Ronald Dworkin, Taking Rights Seriously, Cambridge, Mass. 1977 (erw. Ausgabe 1978). Dt.: Ronald Dworkin, Bürgerrechte ernstgenommen, Frankfurt/M. 1990, S. 58-64
2. Michelman, Frank I., »The Supreme Court 1985 Term – Foreword. Traces of Self-Government«, in: Harvard Law Review 100/1, 1986, 4-77.
3. Habermas, Jürgen, Faktizität und Geltung. Beiträge zur Diskurstheorie des Rechts und des demokratischen Rechtsstaats, Frankfurt/M. 1994, S. 272-276.


Bernd Ladwig, „Ronald Dworkin, Bürgerrechte ernstgenommen“ in: Manfred Brocker (Hg.) Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert. Frankfurt/M. 2018


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Dworkin I
Ronald Dworkin
Taking Rights Seriously Cambridge, MA 1978

Brocker I
Manfred Brocker
Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert Frankfurt/M. 2018


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2019-08-18
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