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(1987) An existential phenomenology of law, Dordrecht, Springer.

Law and society

William Hamrick

pp. 150-185

In connection with working out Merleau-Ponty's probable view of law according to the model of language as a system of expressive possibilities, the last chapter dwelt at length on H.L.A. Hart's theory of rules. This was not due to the fact that Merleau-Ponty was influenced by Hart; in fact, there is no evidence that the former had ever read his Oxford contemporary. Nor was it owing to any sort of reverse influence, for Hart has stated explicitly that he has never read Merleau-Ponty.1 It is, rather, because it would be difficult to overestimate the importance of Hart's contributions to the philosophy of law, and the impressiveness of his work makes all the more significant the close similarity of his thought to conceiving law according to the model of language. In the best sense of the traditional task of philosophers to "save the phenomena," he has managed to save that of law from its distortions at the hands of earlier positivists, the American Legal Realists, and pure formalists of various stripes. And he has done so with such lucidity and persuasiveness that his work certainly constitutes a "decisive sedimentation" (S 194), back beyond which it will not be possible to go in the philosophy of law.2

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-94-017-0707-7_7

Full citation:

Hamrick, W. (1987). Law and society, in An existential phenomenology of law, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 150-185.

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