Ronald Dworkin has passed away at age 81

by on February 14, 2013 at 8:42 am in Law, Philosophy | Permalink

Here is one brief account.  There is more here (an excellent obituary).  His works are worthy of close study.

1 Enrique February 14, 2013 at 8:54 am

Dworkin’s main claim was that law is a branch of moral philosophy — and he will always be remembered for his stinging critique of “law & economics” (especially his argument that wealth is not the most important value) — but i nevder found his view of “law as integrity” as very persuasive either — after all, as someone noted in The Browser Book of Quotations, even hyenas have integrity

2 Greg Ransom February 14, 2013 at 12:22 pm

Both Hayek and Dworkin agree that implicit, foundational principles lie behind legal interpretation, they differ in that Hayek provides reasons for believing that Dworkin’s foundational principle — social justice & redistributive egalitarianism — is incoherent, inherently unprincipled, and ultimately grounded in an ethic of expediency and partisanship.

“Dworkin’s account of the substance of the liberal principles that judges should protect is different from Dicey’s, Hewart’s, or Hayek’s, all of whom are libertarians concerned to maximize the space of negative liberty for individuals by limiting state intervention to the greatest possible extent. As an egalitarian liberal, Dworkin has argued that equality, not negative liberty,
is the foundational value ofliberalism. And he gives the state a large role in redistribution, as long as redistributive decisions do not violate a principle of state neutrality expressed in what he takes to be the fundamental liberal principle of equal concern and respect.

But though there is this political difference between Dworkin and libertarians about the content of what is protected by the rule of law, there is little or no difference from the perspective of legal theory. The libertarians and Dworkin agree that the rule of law exists when judges protect some core of liberal principles from majoritarian decision making.”

The Rule of Law as the Rule of Liberal Principle by DAVID DYZENHAUS

3 Greg Ransom February 14, 2013 at 12:37 pm
4 FC February 14, 2013 at 10:49 pm

Dworkin will share the fate of most academic superstars, especially in legal theory. He was big in his day but will be forgotten in twenty years.


5 Ovidiu Tudorache February 15, 2013 at 5:34 am

Light a candle in memory of Ronald Dworkin here:

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