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Publication Date

Fall 9-1-2021


This comment critically examines the conception of legal positivism that informs Margaret Martin’s interesting and multilayered challenge against the substance and method of this intellectual tradition. My central claim is that her characterization of the substantive theory of legal positivism sets aside a more fundamental and explanatory prior dimension concerning the positivist’s theory of the existence of legal systems and legal norms. I also argue that her understanding of the positivist’s descriptive methodology as a nonnormative project is too demanding and overlooks both the relationships between law and morality recognized by contemporary legal positivists and the pivotal distinction between internal and external inquiries. These clarifications provide resources to begin to address some of Martin’s objections against the Razian project.

Publication Title

Isonomía: Revista de teoría y filosofía del derecho

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