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Hart's 'Postscript' and the Nature of Legal Theory
Italian Legal Scholarship Unbound Working Paper Series (2008)
  • Matteo Mattioni

This paper analyses the nature of Herbert L. A. Hart’s legal theory – that is the meta-cognitive aspect of his analytical jurisprudence – with reference to his last, unfinished writing (the Postscript to his Concept of Law, posthumously published in 1994) and to the recent, doubtful reply coming from the Postscript’s main addressee, the American philosopher Ronald Dworkin. After a brief – but not cursory – summation of the essential features of Hart’s and Dworkin’s legal theories and an overview of the debate that continued between the two up to the late 1980s, the present work delves into the Postscript’s contents, by means of which Hart tried for the last time to settle his account with his intelligent disciple. At last, Dworkin’s newest side-taking on the point (Hart’s Postscript and the Character of Political Philosophy, published in 2004) is considered, dwelling on the most controversial issues it presents.

Note: downloadable document is in Italian.

  • Hart's Postscript,
  • Dworkin,
  • Hart’s Postscript and the Character of Political Philosophy,
  • Analytical Jurisprudence,
  • Hart-Dworkin debate,
  • Poscritto di Hart
Publication Date
Citation Information
Matteo Mattioni, Hart's 'Postscript' and the Nature of Legal Theory, ILSU Working Paper No. 2008-08/IT (2008), available at