Structure of Legal Systems

An unexplored area in the philosophy of law is how attention to the structure of legal systems can uncover and resolve confusions that lawyers, legal academics, and other philosophers of law tend to fall into. So far I've written only one article on the matter, but plan on more.

Legal Revolutions: Six Mistakes about Discontinuities in the Legal Order, 83 North Carolina Law Review 331-409 (2005)

The general idea is that laws are unified, through chains of authorization, into legal systems and that a revolution takes us from one legal system to another incommensurable legal system. Failure to attend to this structure of legal systems generates certain confusions. This is one of my favorite articles, particularly because of the concrete examples that I provide, including the writing of Akhil Amar, the Supreme Court of Pakistan’s 1958 decision in State v. Dosso, the jurisprudence of John Austin, and criticisms of Bush v. Gore. I should not have packed as much as I did in this article, however, and I plan on expanding on some of the examples I discuss here in separate articles in the future.

I have also blogged a bit on the related topic of deontic logic and the philosophy of law.

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