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Philosophical Foundations of the Nature of Law$
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Wil Waluchow and Stefan Sciaraffa

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199675517

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199675517.001.0001

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What Do We Want Law to Be? Philosophical Analysis and the Concept of Law *

What Do We Want Law to Be? Philosophical Analysis and the Concept of Law *

Chapter:
(p.230) 10 What Do We Want Law to Be? Philosophical Analysis and the Concept of Law*
Source:
Philosophical Foundations of the Nature of Law
Author(s):

Natalie Stoljar

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199675517.003.0011

This chapter discusses the conceptual analysis of law. It is organized as follows. Section II identifies three possible strategies of conceptual analysis for concepts that refer to social kinds. Section III elaborates two (non-legal) examples of concepts that refer to social kinds to show the plausibility of the claim that the analysis of such concepts employs a plurality of strategies. Section IV applies the first two strategies — the conceptual and the descriptive — to law and shows how the application of each has helped to illuminate aspects of the concept of law. Section V defends the position that the ameliorative strategy is an important component in conceptual analysis of law. It argues that, despite the logical possibility of applying each of the conceptual and descriptive strategies to law, as well as their usefulness in answering questions about certain aspects of the nature of law, ultimately they are limited. When the manifest and the operative concept conflict, or when the operative concept is itself indeterminate, an ameliorative strategy should be invoked.

Keywords:   conceptual analysis, philosophical analysis, concept of law, social kinds, ameliorative strategy

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