Can There be a Theory of Law?1
This chapter argues that a theory of law is successful if it meets two criteria: first, it consists of propositions about the law which are necessarily true, and, second, they explain what the law is. The chapter clarifies the relationship between this thesis and the traditional way of understanding the task of legal theory as explaining the concept of law. It then examines several difficulties with the idea that there can be a theory of law in general, a theory which since true is necessarily true of the law wherever and whenever it is to be found. The problems examined arise out of the changing nature of concepts, out of the dependence of law on concepts, and out of the alleged impossibility of understanding alien cultures, using alien concepts.
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