•  1075
    In Defense of Hart
    In Wil Waluchow & Stefan Sciaraffa (eds.), Philosophical Foundations of the Nature of Law, Oxford University Press. pp. 22. 2013.
    In Legality Scott Shapiro seeks to provide the motivation for the development of his own elaborate account of law by undertaking a critique of H.L.A. Hart's jurisprudential theory. Hart maintained that every legal system is underlain by a rule of recognition through which officials of the system identify the norms that belong to the system as laws. Shapiro argues that Hart's remarks on the rule of recognition are confused and that his model of lawis consequently untenable. Shapiro contends that …Read more
  •  381
    This paper seeks to clarify and defend the proposition that moral realism is best elaborated as a moral doctrine. I begin by upholding Ronald Dworkin’s anti-Archimedean critique of the error theory against some strictures by Michael Smith, and I then briefly suggest how a proponent of moral realism as a moral doctrine would respond to Smith’s defense of the Archimedeanism of expressivism. Thereafter, this paper moves to its chief endeavor. By differentiating clearly between expressivism and quas…Read more
  •  242
    Freedom: A Philosophical Anthology (edited book)
    Blackwell. 2007.
    Edited by leading contributors to the literature, Freedom: An Anthology is the most complete anthology on social, political and economic freedom ever compiled. Offers a broad guide to the vast literature on social, political and economic freedom. Contains selections from the best scholarship of recent decades as well as classic writings from Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau and Kant among others. General and sectional introductions help to orient the reader. Compiled and edited by three important contrib…Read more
  •  164
    Liberty and domination
    In Cécile Laborde & John W. Maynor (eds.), Republicanism and Political Theory, Blackwell. pp. 31--57. 2003.
  •  141
    John Locke's labor theory of property is one of the seminal ideas of political philosophy and served to establish its author's reputation as one of the leading social and political thinkers of all time. Through it Locke addressed many of his most pressing concerns, and earned a reputation as an outstanding spokesman for political individualism - a reputation that lingers widely despite some partial challenges that have been raised in recent years. In this major new study Matthew Kramer offers an…Read more
  •  135
    When Is There Not One Right Answer?
    American Journal of Jurisprudence 53 (1): 49-68. 2008.
  •  128
    This book is an uncompromising defense of legal positivism that insists on the separability of law and morality. After distinguishing among three facets of morality, Kramer explores a variety of ways in which law has been perceived as integrally connected to each of those facets. The book concludes with a detailed discussion of the obligation to obey the law--a discussion that highlights the strengths of legal positivism in the domain of political philosophy as much as in the domain of jurisprud…Read more
  •  118
    This essay argues against the commonly held view that "ought" implies "can" in the domain of morality. More specifically, I contest the notion that nobody should ever be held morally responsible for failing to avoid the infliction of any harm that he or she has not been able to avoid through all reasonably feasible precautions in the carrying out of some worthwhile activity. The article explicates the concept of a moral right in order to show why violations of moral rights can occur even when no…Read more
  •  106
    What Is Legal Philosophy?
    Metaphilosophy 43 (1-2): 125-134. 2012.
    This article delineates some of the main issues that are debated by philosophers of law. It explores the connections between legal philosophy and other areas of philosophy, while also seeking to specify the distinctiveness of many of the concerns that have preoccupied philosophers of law. It illustrates its abstract points with examples focused on the separability of law and morality, the nature of the rule of law, the nature of rights, justifications for the imposition of punishment, and the id…Read more
  •  102
    Moral Realism as a Moral Doctrine
    Wiley-Blackwell. 2009.
    In this major new work, Matthew Kramer seeks to establish two main conclusions. On the one hand, moral requirements are strongly objective. On the other hand, the objectivity of ethics is itself an ethical matter that rests primarily on ethical considerations. Moral realism - the doctrine that morality is indeed objective - is a moral doctrine. Major new volume in our new series _New Directions in Ethics_ Takes on the big picture - defending the objectivity of ethics whilst rejecting the grounds…Read more
  •  93
    Moral principles and legal validity
    Ratio Juris 22 (1): 44-61. 2009.
    Two recent high-quality articles, including one in this journal, have challenged the Inclusivist and Incorporationist varieties of legal positivism. David Lefkowitz and Michael Giudice, writing from perspectives heavily influenced by the work of Joseph Raz, have endeavored—in sophisticated and interestingly distinct ways—to vindicate Raz's contention that moral principles are never among the law-validating criteria in any legal system nor among the laws that are applied as binding bases for adju…Read more
  •  92
    During the past few decades, Quentin Skinner has been one of the most prominent critics of the ideas about negative liberty that have developed out of the writings of Isaiah Berlin. Among Skinner?s principal charges against the contemporary doctrine of negative liberty is the claim that the proponents of that doctrine have overlooked the putative fact that people can be made unfree to refrain from undertaking particular actions. In connection with this matter, Skinner contrasts the present-day t…Read more
  •  84
    Objectivity and the Rule of Law
    Cambridge University Press. 2007.
    What is objectivity? What is the rule of law? Are the operations of legal systems objective? If so, in what ways and to what degrees are they objective? Does anything of importance depend on the objectivity of law? These are some of the principal questions addressed by Matthew H. Kramer in this lucid and wide-ranging study that introduces readers to vital areas of philosophical enquiry. As Kramer shows, objectivity and the rule of law are complicated phenomena, each comprising a number of distin…Read more
  •  77
    No better reasons: A reply to Alan Gewirth
    with Nigel E. Simmonds
    Southern Journal of Philosophy 36 (1): 131-139. 1998.
    Alan Gewirth has propounded a moral theory which commits him to the view that prescriptions can appropriately be addressed to people who have neither any moral reasons nor any prudential reasons to follow the prescriptions. We highlight the strangeness of Gewirth's position and then show that it undermines his attempt to come up with a supreme moral principle
  •  73
    The Purgative Rationale for the Death Penalty: Replies to Steiker and Danaher
    Criminal Law and Philosophy 9 (2): 379-394. 2015.
    This article defends my 2011 book “The Ethics of Capital Punishment” against the thoughtful critiques written by Carol Steiker and John Danaher respectively. It does not attempt to respond to every point of contention in the two critiques, but concentrates instead on a few of the main points from each of them
  •  63
    Refining the Interest Theory of Rights
    American Journal of Jurisprudence 55 (1): 31-39. 2010.
  •  55
    Legal positivism’s multi-faceted insistence on the separability of law and morality includes an insistence on the thoroughly conventional status of legal norms as legal norms. Yet the positivist affirmation of the conventionality of law may initially seem at odds with the mind-independence of the existence and contents and implications of legal norms. Mind-independence, a central aspect of legal objectivity, has been seen by some theorists as incompatible with the mind-dependence of conventions.…Read more
  •  55
    Legal and moral obligation
    In Martin P. Golding & William A. Edmundson (eds.), The Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of Law and Legal Theory, Blackwell. pp. 179--190. 2005.
  •  55
    Reason without reasons: A critique of Alan Gewirth's moral philosophy
    with Nigel E. Simmonds
    Southern Journal of Philosophy 34 (3): 301-315. 1996.
  •  50
    The Quality of Freedom
    Oxford University Press. 2008.
    In his provocative book Matthew Kramer offers a systematic theory of freedom that challenges most of the other major contemporary treatments of the topic.
  •  49
    The morality of interrogational torture has been the subject of heated debate in recent years. In explaining why torture is morally wrong, Kramer engages in deep philosophical reflections on the nature of morality and on moral conflicts
  •  47
    Theories of Rights: Is There a Third Way?
    Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 27 (2): 281-310. 2007.
    Some important recent articles, including one in this journal, have sought to devise theories of rights that can transcend the longstanding debate between the Interest Theory and the Will Theory. The present essay argues that those efforts fail and that the Interest Theory and the Will Theory withstand the criticisms that have been levelled against them. To be sure, the criticisms have been valuable in that they have prompted the amplification and clarification of the two dominant theories of ri…Read more
  •  40
    G. A. Cohen's Conception of Law: A Critique
    Ratio Juris 2 (3): 283-298. 1989.
    This note will challenge G. A. Cohen's view of the interaction between legal systems and economic structures; such interaction raises the so‐called problem of legality, which Cohen sets out to solve in the eighth chapter of Karl Marx's Theory of History . In the course of this note, we shall interrogate the presumed rigor of Cohen's theory of base/superstructure relations, to which his understanding of law is central. His approach will not be simply destroyed, but will be resituated in a network…Read more
  •  38
    Crime, Punishment, and Responsibility: The Jurisprudence of Antony Duff (edited book)
    with Rowan Cruft, Matthew H. Kramer, and Mark R. Reiff
    Oxford University Press. 2011.
    This volume collects essays by leading criminal law theorists to explore the principal themes in his work.