This book develops a general theory of law, inclusive legal positivism, which seeks to remain within the tradition represented by authors such as Austin, Hart, MacCormick, and Raz, while sharing some of the virtues of both classical and modern theories of natural law, as represented by authors such as Aquinas, Fuller, Finnis, and Dworkin. Its central theoretical questions are: Does the existence or content of positive law ever depend on moral considerations? If so, is this fact consistent with legal positivism? The author shows how inclusive positivism allows one to answer yes to both of these questions.
In addition to articulating and defending his own version of legal positivism, which is a refinement and development of the views of H.L.A. Hart as expressed in his classic book The Concept of Law, the author clarifies the terms of current jurisprudential debates about the nature of law. These debates are often clouded by failures to appreciate that different theorists are offering differing kinds of theories and attempting to answer different questions. There is also a failure, principally on the part of Ronald Dworkin, to characterize opposing theories correctly. The clarity of Waluchow's work will help to remove the confusion which has hitherto marred some jurisprudential debate, particularly about Dworkin's work.
`much of Waluchow's book ably defends inclusive positivism ... Anyone wishing to see a well-argued defense of a legal theory that attempts to take legal phenomena at face value would do well to read Waluchow's book.'
William H Wilcox, The Philosophical Review Vol 106 no1 (January 1997)
`The book is dense with argumentation ... Its richness may be a result of the fact that many of the chapters resulted from academic articles which hold their own as independent scholarly contributions but, the care with which many of the arguments have been crafted and systemized in the present work cannot be taken for granted ... Professor Waluchow has produced an insightful work which, I hope, would find space in our over-populated jurisprudence
`There are many insights and a very useful re-run of arguments about the nature of law, so unfashionable at present ... Waluchow's book is rich with ideas and examples and the general tenor is one of rigour ... it is an intelligent, rich and constructive contribution to the long-running debate about the place of moral judgement in law.'
Cambridge Law Journal
`'Waluchow writes clearly and succinctly throughout...this is a very impressive book, lucidly written with assiduous regard to the complexities of opponents' arguments. As well as pointing out the fallacies in much modern legal theory, Waluchow offers many fresh insights into theories with which we thought we were familiar. This book is a significant addition to the ongoing debate between positivists and natural lawyers.''