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H.L.A. Hart's Minimum Content Theory of Natural Law

H.L.A. Hart's Minimum Content Theory of Natural Law

Abstract

H.L.A. Hart's Minimum Content Theory of Natural Law SAGE Publications, Inc.1981DOI: 10.1177/009059178100900404 S.B.Drury University of Calgary -HE PURPOSE OF THIS article is to provide a clearer understanding of the much maligned tradition of natural law in theory. It is my contention that H.L.A. Hart has succeeded in distorting important aspects of the controversy between natural law and legal positivism. I hope to show that his "minimum content" theory does not, contrary to his own beliefs, constitute a compromise between natural law and legal positivism. Indeed, the belief that his theory constitutes such a compromise is based on a misapprehension of the meaning and significance of natural law. In this article I will confine myself to those aspects of the debate between natural law legal positivism that concern Hart. I will also concern myself primarily withteleological theories of natural law, since this is the type of theory is of primary concern for Hart. That is not to imply, however, that theories of natural law that do not depend primarily on a teleological view of nature do not belong to the tradition of natural law.'~ i understands the debate between natural law and legal positivism to be primarily the nature
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