Essays in Jurisprudence and Philosophy
The chapters in this book were written in the twenty-eight years following H. L. A. Hart's inaugural lecture in 1953 as Professor of Jurisprudence at Oxford. Originally published in England, the United States, and elsewhere, in many different journals and books, these chapters cover a wide range of topics. They include Professor Hart's first attempt to demonstrate the relevance of linguistic philosophy to jurisprudence, and his first defence of the form of legal positivism later developed in his Concept of Law; his studies of the distinctive teaching of American and Scandinavian jurisprudence; a general survey of the problems of legal philosophy; and an examination of three different attempts to provide a foundation for basic human rights or liberties, and of the notion of ‘social solidarity’ as a justification for the enforcement of conventional morality. Five of the chapters are devoted to the work of Jhering, Kelsen, Holmes, and Lon Fuller. The final chapter brings a philosophical distinction to bear on the solution to a perplexity which has long plagued lawyers, concerning the notion of an attempt to commit a crime. The Introduction gives an account of the main influences on Professor Hart's work; considers the main criticisms of it; and identifies the points where he now considers he was mistaken.