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Between the 'Metaphysics of the Stone Age' and the 'Brave New World': H.L.A. Hart on the Law's Assumptions about Human Nature

Cserne, Peter

Authors

Peter Cserne P.Cserne@hull.ac.uk



Contributors

Miodrag Jovanović
Editor

Bojan Spaić
Editor

Abstract

This paper analyses H.L.A. Hart’s views on the epistemic character of the law’s assumptions about human behaviour, as articulated in Causation in the Law and Punishment and Responsibility. Hart suggests that the assumptions behind legal doctrines typically combine common sense factual beliefs, moral intuitions, and philosophical theories of earlier ages with sound moral principles, and empirical knowledge. An important task of legal theory is to provide a ‘rational and critical foundation’ for these doctrines. This does not only imply conceptual clarification in light of an epistemic ideal of objectivity but also involves legal theorists in ‘enlightenment’ about empirical facts, ‘demystification’ of metaphysical obscurities, and substantive normative reasoning in terms of practical reasonableness. The confrontation of the implicit assumptions behind legal rules and doctrines with findings of psychology and neuro-sciences raises conceptual and normative questions about law as a regulatory technique and a specific mechanism of social control.

Publication Date Jul 1, 2012
Pages 71 - 89
Series Number Vol. 2
Book Title Jurisprudence and Political Philosophy in the 21st Century: Reassessing Legacies
Chapter Number 6
ISBN 978-3-631-62207-0
APA6 Citation Cserne, P. (2012). Between the 'Metaphysics of the Stone Age' and the 'Brave New World': H.L.A. Hart on the Law's Assumptions about Human Nature. In M. Jovanović, & B. Spaić (Eds.), Jurisprudence and Political Philosophy in the 21st Century: Reassessing Legacies, 71 - 89. Frankfurt: Peter Lang Pub Inc
Keywords H.L.A. Hart; Human nature; Legal epistemology
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