Hart-Fuller Debate Analysis

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The Hart-Fuller debate is arguably one of the most interesting and contentious debates in jurisprudence. The debate clearly highlights the divide between two jurisprudential schools of thought: legal positivism and natural law, particularly in the context of Nazi laws. The multitudinous nature of jurisprudential inquiry concerning the relationship between law and morality allows for numerous conflicting interpretations and opinions. Therefore, it is important to limit the scope of this essay. This will be done by considering Prof. Lon Fuller’s claim that there is an intrinsic connection between law and morality and Prof. H.L.A Hart’s rejection thereof. First, Hart’s support of the separation thesis will be considered. This thesis is …show more content…
Do not mistake this pronouncement for ambiguity. While ‘separation’ connotes the bold idea that law and morality should be kept separate, this was not Hart’s intention. Hart, put simply, maintained the idea that law and morality shared no ‘necessary’ connection; law and morality are not inter-dependant on each other and whether the law conforms to a set of minimum moral standards is not a pre-requisite for the existence of a valid legal system. A legal system is a freestanding system of what is and it doesn’t need to point beyond itself to other conceptions - e.g. morality - to justify its autonomous state and separability of what ought to be. Hart, however, unlike other legal positivists, didn't deny that the development of law has been profoundly influenced by morality; acknowledging that law and morals are bound to intersect at some point. This is in fact true. Their union is commonplace. One example includes prohibiting sex discrimination, as we deem it immoral. In this sense, ‘separation’ may be substituted with ‘separability’ for a better representation of the thesis’s ideology. Further, while Hart does not define ‘necessary connection’, he proves to be liberal in his interpretation. Despite this, the critics of positivism have managed to reach a patently false conclusion that, according to positivism, there is no connection whatsoever between law and morality. Therefore, Fuller argues, Hart’s ‘minimum content theory’ represents a contradiction on his part. Fuller believes such theory is analogous with the law’s internal morality, only Hart refers to this as ‘justice in the administration of laws’. It must be argued, to the contrary, that this inclusionary positivistic approach does not constitute a necessary connection

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