This essay appears in a book celebrating Lon Fuller's contributions to jurisprudence. I argue that Fuller's conception of secular natural law, designated as an "internal morality of law," lends welcome assistance to the effort to articulate a new direction in legal philosophy. I defend Fuller's natural-law approach from the common misinterpretations that it is either a hollow echo of the natural law tradition or an essentialist conception of law at odds with the legal-realist world that he helped to create with his doctrinal scholarship. By reading his famous, "The Case of the Speluncean Explorers," in a new light, I contend that Fuller's natural-law approach is best understood as an attempt to outline the social framework in which acquiring legal knowledge – defined not as the technical mastery of doctrine or the rationalistic apprehension of conceptual verities, but rather as a rhetorical-hermeneutical event that is a social achievement – is possible.
Mootz III, Francis Joseph, Natural Law and the Cultivation of Legal Rhetoric (1999). REDISCOVERING FULLER: ESSAYS ON IMPLICIT LAW AN INSTITUTIONAL DESIGN, Willem J. Witteveen, Wibren van der Burg, eds., Amsterdam University Press, 1999.
Mootz, Francis J. III, "Natural Law and the Cultivation of Rhetoric" (1999). Scholarly Works. Paper 74.