The Monty Python Example No. 3 (Analytical Philosophy in Law)

Too much of it arguably reads like this:

In The Concept of Law, H.L.A. Hart once said something.  This brilliant insight (BI) effectively corrected some fundamentally wrongheaded ways of thinking.   Yet upon closer examination, BI encompasses a number of different ideas which can be set forth and examined–each in its own right.

In order to introduce some conceptual clarity, let us begin by defining our terms.  BI can be helpfully subdivided into five distinct possibilities: p, not p, p unless not p, not p unless p, and, of course, the incoherent p and not p which we encounter in less thoroughgoing philosophical work including France.   Other less rigorous possibilities would include occasionally p, randomly p, indeterminately p, and the like.   These and other such possibilities are in their nature insufficiently precise to warrant treatment here.

Putting aside the imprecise and incoherent possibilities as non-starters, we are left with four possibilities.   It is important not to conflate these upon pain of serious error.  The essential point here is that if we can avoid such conflation, the four-part theory advanced here (TAH) will remain intact and available to guide analysis.

Sophisticated readers will, of course, recognize that the application of TAH depends upon the addition of specified empirical conceptual content (SECC).   In turn, where law is concerned, the availability of SECC depends, at least in part, upon further more rigorous work in the social sciences.  Indeed, the currently available work in the social sciences is  largely unsuitable for TAH.

It would be highly unfortunate if TAH and SECC remained incompatible.  It is to be hoped that, in the future, this discordance can be avoided as the social sciences progress and produce better more thoroughgoing SECC.   In the meantime, TAH may help to dispel some of the theoretically muddled thinking so frequently encountered in contemporary legal analysis.

For  further elaboration:

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1 Response to The Monty Python Example No. 3 (Analytical Philosophy in Law)

  1. Zach says:

    Haha. Ya. Can’t be bothered with any indeterminate Frenchy theory.

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