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The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 11, 2001

Social and Political Philosophy

Neil MacCormick
Pages 51-67

Rhetoric and the Rule of Law

The thesis that propositions of law are intrinsically arguable is opposed by the antithesis that the Rule of Law is valued for the sake of legal certainty. The synthesis considers the insights of theories of rhetoric and proceduralist theories of practical reason, then locates the problem of indeterminacy of law in the context of the challengeable character of governmental action under free governments. This is not incompatible with, but required by the Rule of Law, which is misstated as securing legal certainty. Defeasible certainty is the most that is desirable or achievable.

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