Justice in Robes

Ronald Dworkin, Author
Ronald Dworkin, Author . Harvard Univ. $35 (308p) ISBN 978-0-674-02167-9
Reviewed on: 02/20/2006
Release date: 04/01/2006

Dworkin, a professor of law and philosophy at NYU Law School and University College, London, has for a generation been an influential voice in the rarefied debate that has raged in academia over how best to construct a logically consistent and philosophically useful description of what law is and what law should do. In addition, Dworkin has been a strong voice defending the jurisprudence that supports abortion rights, free speech and other liberal positions in more public debates. Consistent with both roles, these essays explicate Dworkin's notion that law must have a moral component, and deconstruct and criticize the ideas of competing theorists. Against some of them, like the prolific Richard Posner, he takes the gloves off. For example, Dworkin describes one aspect of Posner's jurisprudence as "remarkably implausible," strong words from a philosopher. Dworkin's debate with others is more measured, but he is willing to step into the ring with each and defend his ideas. This is a serious, difficult book that succeeds in explaining what Dworkin believes, what the other theorists argue, and why it matters who is right. (Apr.)