BOOK REVIEW: DWORKIN'S "EMPIRE". LAW'S EMPIRE. BY RONALD DWORKIN. * Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 1987 Duke Law Journal
Duke Law Journal

BOOK REVIEW: DWORKIN'S "EMPIRE".

LAW'S EMPIRE. BY RONALD DWORKIN. *

The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1986. Pp. 470. $ 20.



* Professor of Jurisprudence, Oxford University, and Professor of Law, New York University.

February, 1987

1987 Duke L.J. 157

Author

REVIEWED BY GEORGE C. CHRISTIE +

Excerpt

Ronald Dworkin has been the phenomenon of our age. He has dominated jurisprudential discussion over the past twenty years even more completely than John Rawls has dominated discussion of ethics since the publication of A Theory of Justice 1 in 1971. It has often seemed that, if an author was not prepared to focus primarily on Dworkin's work, he was not doing jurisprudence. Whether this domination of a field by one person is a healthy phenomenon is another question. The importance of Dworkin's latest work, Law's Empire, 2 however, lies not only in the fact that it will undoubtedly continue Dworkin's domination of jurisprudential discourse, but also in the fact that it is his first real book. His enormously successful Taking Rights Seriously 3 was a collection of previously published essays, as was most of his second book, A Matter of Principle. 4 Law's Empire, by contrast, was written to be read as a coherent whole.

Dworkin began his domination of contemporary jurisprudence by attacking H.L.A. Hart's concession that, at its penumbras, law was uncertain. 5 It was the task of the judge to resolve this uncertainty as best he could, given the legal sources available to him. In the performance of this task, according to Hart, the exercise of some degree of judicial discretion was inevitable. Dworkin set out to show that, even in cases where the conventional sources of law (namely the statutes and the previously decided cases) did not seem to provide a clear answer, ...
 
 
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