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conceptual jurisprudence; freedom; Lon Fuller; republicanism; rule of law


Lon Fuller wrote extensively on freedom, but these writings are now largely unread. It is rare to find them mentioned, rarer still to see any attempt to relate their ideas to Fuller’s writings on law and legal theory. Perhaps reflecting the widely-accepted dichotomy between jurisprudence (conceptual) and political theory (normative), these works are thought irrelevant to discussions on the nature of law. Fuller himself, however, never accepted this dichotomy, so in this essay I try to offer an alternative reading of Fuller’s Morality of Law in light of his writings on freedom. I argue that Fuller’s book should be understood as part of a broadly "republican" view of freedom, which sees both law and freedom as the opposite of tyranny. I argue that there is considerable textual support both in The Morality of Law and in his writings on freedom for a normative account of the nature of law, one that does not exist peacefully alongside (let alone presuppose) a conceptual inquiry, but rather challenges the possibility of value-neutral conceptual analysis of law.