NewYorkUniversity
LawReview

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Liam Murphy

Results

Professor Ronald Dworkin

Jeremy Waldron, Lewis A. Kornhauser, The Honorable Stephen Breyer, T.M. Scanlon, Rebecca L. Brown, Liam Murphy, Robert B. Silvers, Thomas Nagel

Last year, the NYU community lost an intellectual giant in Professor Ronald Dworkin. The school and the Law Review joined together to honor Professor Dworkin’s writings, ideas, and of course, his legendary colloquia. Academics, philosophers, and judges gathered to pay tribute. In the pages that follow, we proudly publish written versions of those tributes.1 The ceremony closed with a short video clip of one of Professor Dworkin’s last speeches, titled Einstein’s Worship. His words provide a fitting introduction:

“We emphasize—we should emphasize—our responsibility, a responsibility shared by theists and atheists alike, a responsibility that we have in virtue of our humanity to think about these issues, to reject the skeptical conclusion that it’s just a matter of what we think and therefore we don’t have to think. We need to test our convictions. Our convictions must be coherent. They must be authentic; we must come to feel them as our convictions. But when they survive that test of responsibility, they’ve also survived any philosophical challenge that can be made. In that case, you burnish your convictions, you test your convictions, and what you then believe, you better believe it. That’s what I have to say about the meaning of life. Tomorrow: the universe.”

Better to See Law This Way

Liam Murphy

With a clear and compelling ethical vision, H.L.A. Hart attempts to persuade us that it would be better to see law the positivist way. Much of Lon Fuller’s reply can be read as an equally compelling case for seeing law another way. Both articles are rewarding precisely because they bring to the fore the ethical and political stakes of the debate over the concept of law. The problem is that while these instrumental arguments do a lot to explain why philosophers have tended to be so invested in either positivism or nonpositivism, they have no chance of changing our social world such that either view can be said to be true.