Research Paper Number
descriptive jurisprudence; H.L.A. Hart; Jurisprudence; jurisprudential methodology; Legal Positivism
Many contemporary legal philosophers argue that general jurisprudence is “descriptive.” I challenge this view in this essay by focusing on one familiar aspect of jurisprudence: persistent disagreements among legal philosophers. I argue that this fact is in tension with the claim that jurisprudence is descriptive. I consider several possible reconciliations of jurisprudential disagreements with descriptivism, but I argue that none of them succeeds. I then argue that persistent jurisprudential disagreements are easy to explain from within a normative framework. I conclude by suggesting that legal philosophers abandon descriptivism in favor of a view that more explicitly sees legal philosophy as part of normative political philosophy.
Priel, Dan, "Jurisprudential Disagreements and Descriptivism" (2013). Comparative Research in Law & Political Economy. Research Paper No. 43/2013.