Philosophy of Law Essay

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Philosophy of Law 1.) Dworkin used the example of Riggs v. Palmer to demonstrate the differences between rules and principles. Discuss these differences and how they were on display in Riggs v. Palmer. Dworkin has tried to identify the criteria on which laws and court decisions are based.


In this context, principles can be interpreted differently, under the influence of the personal perceptions of the individual involved, while no such option is available in the case of rules (Raitio 294). The differentiation between rules and principles is made clear when referring to their use by judges. Indeed, in such case, as Dworkin states, rules apply ‘in all or nothing fashion’ (Culver 144), meaning that a rule can either be applied in a specific case or not, there is no intermediate status (Culver 144). On the contrary, principles, even if judges use them, do not oblige the judge involved to take a specific decision. For this reason, Dworkin notes that principles only ‘contribute in judges’ decision’ (Culver 144); principles cannot define the content of a court decision just to influence the reasoning of the judge in regard to the case involved (Culver 144); also, the judge decides whether he will use a principle, and at what level, when developing a decision. Peczenik (2009) refers to another differentiation of rules and principles, as described by Dworkin. Rules and principles are based on different criteria of validity. ...
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