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The Concept of Law

The Concept of Law (3rd edn)

HLA Hart, Joseph Raz, and Penelope A. Bulloch
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date: 30 May 2023

IX. Laws and Moralslocked

IX. Laws and Moralslocked

  • H. L. A. HartH. L. A. Hartlate Professor of Jurisprudence, Principal of Brasenose College, and Fellow of University College, University of Oxford


Celebrated for their conceptual clarity, titles in the Clarendon Law Series offer concise, accessible overviews of major fields of law and legal thought. This chapter examines the relations between law and morals. It analyses what lies between Natural Law and Legal Positivism. It considers, in the form of five truisms, the salient characteristics of human nature upon which the minimum content of Natural Law rests. These truisms are: human vulnerability, approximate equality, limited altruism, limited resources, and limited understanding and strength of will. The chapter concludes by examining six forms of the claim that there is some further way in which law must conform to morals beyond that which has been exhibited as the minimum content of Natural Law.

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