Social and Justified Legal Normativity: Unlocking the Mystery of the Relationship

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Colleges, School and Institutes


Can Hart's non-cognitivism be reconciled with his rejection of the predictive and sanction-based explanations of law? This paper analyses Hart's notion of the internal point of view and focuses on the notion of acceptance of a rule along the lines of a non-cognitivist understanding of intentional actions. It is argued that a non-cognitivist analysis of acceptance of rules is incomplete and parasitic on a more basic or primary model of acceptance that does not involve mental states. This basic or primary model of acceptance explains actions in terms of other actions and in terms of reasons for actions that are both presented as good-making characteristics and transparent to the agent. If Hart's internal point of view is able to work as the key argument to reject predictive and sanction-based explanations of law, it needs to make the outward approach of intentional action basic or primary rather than rely on an inward approach such as the one advanced by non-cognitivism.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)409-433
Number of pages24
JournalRatio Juris
Issue number3
Early online date3 Aug 2012
Publication statusPublished - 2012