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The Practice of PrincipleIn Defence of a Pragmatist Approach to Legal Theory$
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Jules Coleman

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780199264124

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199264124.001.0001

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Practical Difference

Practical Difference

Chapter:
(p.134) Lecture Ten— Practical Difference
Source:
The Practice of Principle
Author(s):

JULES L. COLEMAN

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199264124.003.0011

Recently, Scott Shapiro has characterized legal normativity in more general terms, propounding what has come to be called the ‘practical difference thesis’. Shapiro has argued that the practical difference thesis is incompatible with inclusive legal positivism. Thus, he aims to vindicate a conclusion similar to Raz’s, but doing so based on weaker premises. This chapter lays out Shapiro’s argument and explains why various responses to him have failed. It then presents a general argument against both Shapiro and Raz to the effect that even if it is true of law that it must make a practical difference, or that it must be the sort of thing that could be a legitimate authority, it does not follow that the same must be true of each and every law.

Keywords:   Scott Shapiro, Raz, legal theory, legal positivism, practical difference thesis

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