Dworkin, Ronald Myles

AuthorJeffrey Lehman, Shirelle Phelps

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Ronald Myles Dworkin is a leading international legal and moral theorist and advocate of AFFIRMATIVE ACTION who has kindled fierce political and judicial debate concerning his views. A law professor at New York University (NYU) School of Law, Dworkin is also a Fellow of the British Academy and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is considered to be one of the leading contemporary experts on JURISPRUDENCE, the science of law.

Dworkin, who was born December 11, 1931, received a B.A. from Harvard University in 1953 and from Oxford University in 1955. He earned a master's degree at Yale University and received an LL.B. from Harvard Law School in 1957. He clerked for the eminent Judge LEARNED HAND. After his clerkship, he became associated with the New York law firm of Sullivan and Cromwell.

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From 1962 to 1969, he was a law professor at Yale University Law School. In 1969, he was appointed to the Chair of Jurisprudence at Oxford University and later became a Fellow of University College. He holds a joint appointment at University College and at NYU where he is a professor in the Philosophy Department and the Frank Henry Sommer Professor of Law.

A prolific writer, Dworkin has authored dozens of articles for philosophical and legal journals and has written on legal and political topics for the New York Review of Books. His focus is on HEALTH CARE issues, equality, affirmative action, COMMON LAW, and constitutional interpretation. Dworkin has also written numerous books, several of which have been translated into major European languages as well as Japanese and Chinese. Among his best-known works are: Taking Rights Seriously (1977), Law's Empire (1986), Life's Dominion: An Argument About Abortion, Euthanasia, and Individual Freedom (1993), and Sovereign Virtue: The Theory and Practice of Equality (2000). Unlike many of his contemporaries, Dworkin has ventured beyond the academic audience in many of his writings. For example, Life's Dominion is an earnest attempt to engage readers on all sides of the ABORTION debate.

In Taking Rights Seriously, Dworkin lays the groundwork for his philosophy by criticizing two leading theories of law: the positivist theory (and its main proponent, H. L. A. Hart), which holds that laws of a community are rules that have been established by the conventions of a community, and that there is no connection between morality and legality...

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