Juan B. Etcheverry

Scope and Limits of General and Descriptive Theories of Law

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Legal Philosophy; Jurisprudence; Positivism; Normativity; H.L.A. Hart.

The purpose of this essay is to shed some light on general and descriptive theories of law - like the one proposed by H.L.A. Hart. To achieve such a goal, we will highlight some of the hurdles that these theories face by: i) trying to identify and adequately explain the necessary features of a practice that it considers absolutely contingent; ii) proposing a "general" theory that explains only "our" concept of the law; iii) developing a theory that, in spite of being non-evaluative, complies with a set of values; iv) describing a normative practice; etc. Finally, this essay will present some issues that call for new and better arguments to defend descriptive theories of law which attempt to offer a general explanation of law without making evaluative judgments.

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