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The Morality of Law

Lon L. Fuller

View Inside Price: $25.00

September 10, 1965
215 pages, 5 x 8
ISBN: 9780300010701

In a lengthy new concluding chapter labeled "A Reply to Critics," Lon L. Fuller extends and clarifies his definition of the relation between law and morality put forward in the first (1964) edition of The Morality of Law. His original argument distinguishes between the morality of duty and the morality of aspiration, both of which bear on the design and operation of social institutions: the former by setting the necessary preconditions of any purposive social endeavor, the latter by suggesting the directions for such endeavor.                                                       
                                                                                                                         In the revised edition, Fuller takes accurate aim at the school of legal philosophy called the New Analytical Jurists and continues his long-running debate with his major intellectual antagonist, H.L.A. Hart. Although the author calls the new chapter "A Reply to Critics," his expressed reason for undertaking it indicates that it is more than that: "As critical reviews of my book came in, I myself became increasingly aware of the extent to which the debate did indeed depend on 'starting points' - not on what the disputants said, but on what they considered it unnecessary to say, not on articulated principles but on tacit assumptions. What was needed, therefore, it seemed to me, was to bring these tacit assumptions to more adequate expression than either side has so far been able to do." There is no question that Mr. Fuller here gives the assumptions of his side adequate expression.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                      “The volume must be regarded as an important contribution of general interest to the study of the nature and function of law…Trenchant comme

"An important contribution of general interest to the study of the nature and function of law. . . . Trenchant comment abounds throughout the book, and there is an immense amount of the most valuable material here, as well as considerable food for thought."—Law Times

"Essential reading for all who are interested in following the growth of jurisprudence and in relating it to the sound scientific analysis of law."—The Annals

"A most valuable and challenging essay on the nature of law."—Choice

"For the beginner as well as the seasoned student of legal philosophy, The Morality of Law contains an excellent assortment of ideas demanding further thought."—Edwin W. Tucker, Indiana Law Journal

"This is an important book. The background to it is the age-old controversy whether the validity of 'law' rests solely on formal criteria (Positivists), or an a moral element in addition to formal criteria (Naturalists). Professor Fuller argues persuasively in support of the latter."—Cambridge Law Journal

"Although this book is small, its content is both deep and thought provoking. It should be read not only by Professor Fuller's colleagues in the teaching of jurisprudence, but also by all those academics and practicing lawyers who seriously maintain that their education did not cease with law school."—Ralph F. Bischoff, New York Law Journal

"The Morality of Law will find a place among the important books in the history of American legal philosophy.  It includes insights into the relations between morality and law, and advances a theory of law of great practical relevance. . . . [This] is the best discussion of the demands of the rule of law in existing literature, . . . filled . . . with many brilliant insights. . . . The book should be widely read."Robert S. Summers, Journal of Legal Education

"The book is a provocative one which is certain to excite much academic comment here and abroad."—Harvard Law Record

"To both students and scholars, this work is highly recommended. The author has opened many new avenues of inquiry while dealing with the many old questions raised in any discussion of morality and law and of natural versus positive law."—Gerald W. Johnson, Tennessee Law Review

"This is an exception in that it comes as close as is feasible to resenting legal philosophy in popular form. . . . He has managed the considerable trick of making his thoughts palatable and even entertaining."—Library Journal

"Throughout this profound, imaginative and keenly analytical work, [Fuller] demonstrates his continuing concern with the tension in morality and law between the 'is' and the 'ought'. . . . A book of ideas should . . . provoke and contribute new thoughts. This book does both."—Barry R. Mandelbaum, New York Law Forum
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