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  • Pavlos Eleftheriadis

Legality and Reciprocity

Lon Fuller’s book The Morality of Law is one of the richest books of legal

philosophy of the twentieth century.1 I do not think it has attracted the attention

it deserves and I welcome the opportunity to renew interest in it through

the pages of this Review.2 My topic will be the contribution that the Morality of

Law makes to our understanding of constitutional law. In my view, Fuller’s

moral conception of legality provides an answer to one of the deepest questions

of constitutional law, namely the question of the requirements, if any, for the

existence of a legal system. Most legal positivists locate the creation of legal

systems and constitutions in some empirical event. Fuller disagrees. Fuller’s

view of law identifies it with a moral ideal of the rule of law, not just the

rule by law. In the view that I will defend, Fuller’s book introduces a moral

account of legality that locates the foundation of a legal system in a moral

judgment based on equality and reciprocity. I therefore read Fuller’s book as

restoring jurisprudence to a tradition of political philosophy that recognizes, as

Aristotle and Kant recognized, that law is a fully moral ideal.



P Eleftheriadis, 'Legality and Reciprocity: A Discussion of Lon Fuller's The Morality of Law' (2014) 9 Jerusalem Review of Legal Studies 1




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