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A Sceptical Theory of Morality and Law

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James Allan

A Sceptical Theory of Morality and Law aims ultimately to cast light on some contentious issues in the philosophy of law, including the nature of rights and of judicial interpretation. The answers one gives, however, rest on the moral theory one finds most convincing. The first part of this book gives a sustained defence of a sceptical moral theory owing much to the views of David Hume. That version of scepticism is then relied upon in the author's discussion of law and legal theory.

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PART B — LEGAL THEORY FROM THE SCEPTIC'S VANTAGE 151

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PARTB: LEGAL THEORY FROM THE SCEPTIC'S VANTAGE This page intentionally left blank 153 Chapter Seven Insider Interpreting The foregoing discussion in Part A of moral scepticism and several of its ramifications will form the backdrop of my consideration of aspects of legal theory. By that I mean that the picture of law soon to be presented rests very much on the view of reason, human interaction and morality that I have already presented in the first part of this book. Even the questions I will ask about law, no less than the answers I will suggest, have been shaped by the conclusions of the first six chapters. Quite simply, my moral scepticism will permeate my conception of law, my legal theory. Nevertheless a familiarity with the detailed argument of Part A will be unnecessary in order to follow the thrust of my views about legal theory. Those who wish will be able to read this part of the book, if not as a stand alone whole then at most with a concomitant understanding that the author follows in the tradition of Hobbes and Hume in believing values and value judgements to be radically subjective. Questions of justice, of right, of fairness will be disputed and no answer to such disagreements about values can ever rise above the relative and the contingent. That the author believes there are no mind-independent or non-contingent resolutions to such disputes, therefore, is the only pre-requisite to comprehending this latter portion of the book. So I...

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