Saturday, February 16, 2013

Legal Philosopher Ronald Dworkin Passes Away: Morality Symbiotically Tied to "The Law" versus Legal Positivism and Utilitarianism

Ronald Dworkin, Professor of Law at New York University (NYU), a law intellectual who (some say tentatively) traced his father's origins to Lithuania, and who established himself as one of the nation's foremost legal philosophers, passed away on February 14, 2013.

Dworkin was the second most-cited legal scholar of his era.

His main contribution to modern-day legal philosophy was to challenge the formerly prevailing legal theories of legal positivism (e.g H.L.A. Hart) and legal utilitarianism (e.g. Judge Learned Hand) and to set against these constructs a more timeless model -- and one more difficult to apply -- of "abstract morality" as a guiding force, symbiotically tied to "The Law".

As an example of his facility to examine legal theories and issues at their very core, when confronted with dogmatic "originalist" Constitutional doctrine, he asked the penultimate precedential question of whether the nation's Founders "originally" intended the U.S. Constitution to be interpreted in that way.

There are many obituaries published online:

See e.g.:

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