Law and Philosophy

, Volume 33, Issue 6, pp 689–724 | Cite as

Four Neglected Prescriptions of Hartian Legal Philosophy

  • Kevin TohEmail author


This paper seeks to uncover and rationally reconstruct four theoretical prescriptions that H. L. A. Hart urged philosophers to observe and follow when investigating and theorizing about the nature of law. The four prescriptions may appear meager and insignificant when each is seen in isolation, but together as an inter-connected set they have substantial implications. In effect, they constitute a central part of Hart's campaign to put philosophical investigations about the nature of law onto a path to a genuine research program. The paper takes note of certain prevalent and robust trends in contemporary legal philosophy that detract its practitioners from the four prescriptions, and that have them revert to the some older modes of thinking from which Hart sought a decisive break. A number of contemporary legal philosophers' views and commitments are taken up and assessed, and in particular those of John Gardner and Leslie Green.

‘Yet the answer is a prosaic one: don’t ask what time is but how the word ‘time’ is being used’.

Friedrich Waismann.

I miss the future.

Jaron Lanier.


Social Practice Moral Obligation Social Rule Practice Theory Legal Philosopher 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.San Francisco State UniversitySan FranciscoUSA

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