Law and Objectivity / Edition 1

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Is law "objective?" Should law be objective? These questions continue to generate argument and confusion. In recent times a belief in the objectivity of law has been undermined by skepticism about legal institutions and ideals of unbiased evaluation, and a conviction that language is necessarily indeterminate. In this book, leading legal philosopher Kent Greenawalt clarifies the different senses in which law might be thought of as objective, and examines claims that it is so.

Beginning with a thorough examination of the language of legal standards, Greenawalt goes on to consider the nature of these standards, asking whether law should in fact treat people "objectively," according to abstract rules and general categories. He also questions how far the law is anchored in something external to itself, such as social morality, political justice, or economic efficiency. In the process, he illuminates the development of jurisprudence in the English-speaking world over the last fifty years, assessing the contributions of many significant movements. Throughout the book, Greenawalt defends his own traditionalist, centrist position, while recognizing the value of recent radical theorizing. An important discussion of fundamental issues in current legal thought, Law and Objectivity is essential reading for all students and scholars of law, ethics and social philosophy.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195098334
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 6/28/1995
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.13 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

Columbia University Law School
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Table of Contents

1 Introduction 3
I Legal Rules and Determinate Answers to Legal Questions
2 The Import of Normative Language and Rules-- Nonlegal Illustrations 11
3 Determinate Applications of Legal Rules 34
4 Determinate Answers Under General Statutory and Constitutional Standards and Principles of Common Law 59
5 Law's Determinacy in Light of General Theories of Prediction, Rule Following, and Interpretation 68
II How the Law Treats People
6 Standards of Judgment: External or Internal, Personal or Reasonable 93
7 Fairness in Classification 121
8 The Generality of Law 141
III Law's Relation to Broader Sources That Make It Objective in Various Respects
9 Law's Relation to Cultural Morality, Economic Efficiency, and Sound Political Morality 163
10 Objectivity in Legal Reasoning 193
11 Correct Answers to Legal Questions 207
Conclusion 233
Notes 237
Bibliography 275
Index 281
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