A revised version of my keynote address (from the inaugural conference of the Rutgers Institute for Law and Philosophy last May) is finally available at SSRN. It's a relatively short paper, and entertaining (or so I was told by members of the audience), so I hope many who do not work in legal philosophy will take a moment to look at it. It would cheer up us specialists if the perception of the field from outside was closer to the perception from within! Here is an excerpt from the opening of the lecture:
"Notwithstanding the majestic sweep and ambition of [Dworkin's] jurisprudential corpus, my conclusion—which I’ve come to only gradually over the last decade of reading, writing, talking and teaching about problems in legal philosophy—is that in legal philosophy, Dworkin now deserves to go the way of Skinner in psychology or Derrida in literary theory, that is, the way of figures whose work, at one time, was a stimulus to new research, but who, in the end, led—or, in Dworkin’s case, tried to lead—their field down a deeply wrong-headed path. The only good news in the story about Dworkin’s impact on law and philosophy is that most of the field declined to follow the Dworkinian path—something, interestingly, that those not working in legal philosophy generally do not know.
"Given the limited amount of time I have today—not to mention the amount of alcohol my audience has already consumed—I’m going to support this polemical thesis with just two kinds of considerations. First, in most of the areas that have made law and philosophy an intellectually vibrant area in recent decades, Dworkin’s work has been largely irrelevant. Second, in the areas where Dworkin has had an impact—namely, the development of his own theory of law and adjudication—his views are, I am afraid, implausible, badly argued for, and largely without philosophical merit. The first point shall be easier to establish this evening than the second, needless to say. I take them up in turn."