Wittgenstein, Dworkin and Rules

Maija Aalto-Heinilä


In this paper I examine Ronald Dworkin’s distinction between legal rules and
principles with the help of Wittgenstein’s remarks on rule-following. Dworkin’s
conception of legal rules as having an “all-or-nothing” nature and as “dictating a
result, come what may”, seems to be a perfect example of the type of philosophical
confusion about rules that Wittgenstein discusses in his Philosophical
Investigations. Consequently, if one desires to distinguish rules from other types of
legal standards, it would be best to focus on the distinct function of rules in legal
reasoning (rather than on their supposed absolutely determinate nature).


philosophy; 20th century philosophy; Wittgenstein Ludwig; legal theory; rule; principle; game

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