Ronald Dworkin Dies at 81

Ronald Dworkin was a professor at NYU Law and an influential Anglo-American legal theorist.  His many writings include his best known book, Law’s Empire (1986), which won the prestigious Coif Award and the Ames Prize at Harvard Law School.

Here is a summary of Dworkin’s jurisprudence from his NYU biography:

In Dworkin’s view, every legal interpretation reflects an underlying theory about the general character of law; he assesses three such theories. One, previously influential, takes the law of a community to be only what the established conventions of that community say it is. Another, currently popular, assumes that legal practice is best understood as an instrument of society to achieve its policy goals. Dworkin opposes both views, arguing that the most fundamental purpose of law is not to report consensus or provide efficient means to social goals, but to be ethical; that is, to meet the requirement that a political community act in a coherent and principled manner toward all its members.