Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



This essay appeared in a book celebrating Lon Fuller's contributions to jurisprudence. In it, Professor Mootz argued 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. He defended 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, Professor Mootz contended 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.

Publication Citation

Francis Joseph Mootz III, "Natural Law and the Cultivation of Legal Rhetoric," in REDISCOVERING FULLER: ESSAYS ON IMPLICIT LAW AN INSTITUTIONAL DESIGN (Willem J. Witteveen & Wibren van der Burg eds., 1999).