Taking Rights Seriously / Edition 1

Taking Rights Seriously / Edition 1

by Ronald Dworkin
4.0 1
ISBN-10:
0674867114
ISBN-13:
9780674867116
Pub. Date:
11/28/1978
Publisher:
Harvard
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Taking Rights Seriously 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Dworkin primarily argues against the normative philosophy of utilitarianism and its jurisprudential analogue, legal positivism, which he states, have dominated America's social, poltical and legal history. Utilitarianism, and legal positivism are mainly attributed to the work of Jeremy Bentham. Utilitarianism basically says that a social order can best be established and maintained through a calculation of the highest average amount of happiness of the people. This philosophy has been associated with the idea in American politics that we know as majoritarian democracy. Utilitarianism's jurisprudential analogue, legal positivism essentially holds that the law is best understood from actual provisions and texts as they were originally written and nothing else. Such and understanding is sometimes associated with American adjudicators who have interpreted the law in such ways like Hugo Black, or Antonin Scalia. Dworkin asserts that society and its people may be more favorably settled so as far as they are recognized for their individuality and/or autonomy. He says that utilitarianism is an insufficient method while attempting any type of decent social accord. Rather, moral philosophy like that of John Ralws may be a far better alternative in making such attempts. To that end, Dworkin believes that moral philosophy lends guidance towards legal principles that should be considered in legal proceedings when judges decide tough cases. In this text, Dworkin is extremely thorough, and precise while making his own case as well as responding to other critics. 'Taking Rights Seriously' is an essential read for anyone interested in the law. I only gave it four stars because not everyone can read and understand this text. Dworkin's points in this book are relavent to many situations that all Americans face, however terms and phraseology are not expressed and defined enough for the lay reader. Upper level undergraduates as well as graduate students should not be the only ones reading this book - that is, if they really want to take rights seriously.