The book suggests that it is reasonable to ask why we should try to give a general description of law. It analyses the theories of Jeremy Bentham, John Austin, H.L.A. Hart, Joseph Raz and Ronald Dworkin. It then attempts to turn our attention away from general descriptions of the law, to the approach that has made us present and use such descriptions. This shift of attention is suggested by the difficulties encountered in our attempts to agree upon any of the proposed descriptions. The book presents an alternative approach to law. With the alternative approach we must question the use of assuming that law is something we can describe in general terms. The alternative approach is also supported by a critique of some widely spread conceptions of meaning, truth and reality. By showing how a pragmatic conception of truth and reality can be consistent and how it helps us focus on the most relevant matters, these arguments offer additional reasons for the change of approach. This change can liberate practise of law from the grip of theorists trying to force law into a mould more appropriate in natural science. The use of philosophy and theory of law in legal practice is strongly questioned and the frequent need for profoundly difficult judgements is acknowledged.
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