Understanding the Nature of Law

Understanding the Nature of Law

A Case for Constructive Conceptual Explanation

Elgar Studies in Legal Theory

Michael Giudice

Understanding the Nature of Law explores methodological questions about how best to explain law. Among these questions, one is central: is there something about law which determines how it should be theorized? This novel book explains the importance of conceptual explanation by situating its methods and goals in relation to, rather than in competition with, social scientific and moral theories of law.

Chapter 8: Participant understanding and legal theory

Michael Giudice

Subjects: law - academic, legal philosophy, legal theory


This chapter takes a closer look at one prominent imperialist claim (best associated with Dworkin), that a proper understanding of law must be from and for the participant’s perspective. The role of participant understandings in legal theory has been the topic of much debate, yet no clear solution has been provided of how or why participant perspectives matter to legal theory. This chapter is designed to clear some misunderstandings about what legal theory owes to participant understandings in the context of the general diversity of theories of law and establish a basis upon which to resolve some methodological disputes.

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