H. L. A. Hart’s Moderate Indeterminacy Thesis Reconsidered: In Between Scylla and Charybdis?
Law and Politics
Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility
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AbstractIn this article, in the context of the fiftieth anniversary of H. L. A. Hart’s The Concept of Law, The author reconsiders the moderate indeterminacy of law thesis, which derives from the open texture of language. For that purpose, the author intends: first, to analyze Hart’s moderate indeterminacy thesis, i.e. determinacy in “easy cases” and indeterminacy in “hard cases,” which resembles Aristotle’s “doctrine of the mean”; second, to criticize his thesis as failing to embody the virtues of a center in between the vices of the extremes, by insisting that the exercise of discretion required constitutes an “interstitial” legislation; and, third, to reorganize an argument for a truly “mean” position, which requires a form of weak interpretative discretion, instead of a strong legislative discretion.