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Essays on BenthamJurisprudence and Political Philosophy$
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H. L. A. Hart

Print publication date: 1982

Print ISBN-13: 9780198254683

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198254683.001.0001

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The Demystification of the Law

The Demystification of the Law

Chapter:
(p.21) I The Demystification of the Law
Source:
Essays on Bentham
Author(s):

H. L. A. Hart

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198254683.003.0002

This chapter focuses on Bentham's general theory of law. Bentham contemplated and elaborately documented the abuses of the English law of his day, the fantastic prolixity and obscurity of its statutes, the complexity and expense of its court procedure, the artificiality and irrationality of its modes of proof. Bentham was, of course, constantly preoccupied with the abuse of language to cloud the issues in controversy, especially political controversy. But the point which he made about the mystifying force of imposter terms such as ‘the maintenance of order’ is really part of something much wider. For it is just a particular manifestation of a very fundamental and original feature in Bentham's whole austere approach to the philosophy of law and politics.

Keywords:   general theory of law, English law, statutes, court procedures, abuse of language, imposter terms

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