Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2008


Law is a practice that claims to be aligning itself with objective truth: "The Law." Natural law theories justified this state of affairs for centuries, but in the wake of the collapse of traditional natural law theories there appears to be no ontological account of law that does credit to the depth of the practice. In particular, legal positivism has failed to fulfill its promise to provide guidance after the eclipse of natural law.

Using Steven Smith's, "Law's Quandary," as a touchstone, I will account for the ontology of law in a naturalistic manner, but without relapsing to traditional natural law accounts. I draw guidance from contemporary theories of rhetoric and hermeneutics, and conclude that law's quandary is really life's quandary, but that we can account for the quandary in satisfactory and productive ways.

Publication Citation

9 Rutgers Journal of Law and Religion 2 (2008).