- Dworkin, Ronald
- (1931– )American philosopher of law. Born in Worcester, Massachusetts, Dworkin was educated at Harvard and Oxford. He has been professor of jurisprudence at Oxford since 1969, and at New York university since 1975. He is known for his defence of ‘legal realism’, here meaning the integral place that moral and pragmatic considerations play in legal decision-making, in opposition to what he sees as their exclusion by legal positivism (see law, philosophy of ). A liberal and a Democrat, Dworkin bases constitutional rights on a fundamental right of all people to equal concern and respect; applications of this include defences of reverse discrimination (this may be tough on those who are denied schools or jobs because of such policies, but the ‘right to be treated as an equal’ need not imply a right to equal treatment). On the other hand, Dworkin defends other freedoms, such as the right to produce and consume pornography, against the objection that its existence displays lack of equal concern and respect for women. His books include Taking Rights Seriously (1977), A Matter of Principle (1985), Law's Empire (1986), and Life's Dominion: An Argument about Abortion, Euthanasia, and Individual Freedom (1993).
Philosophy dictionary. Academic. 2011.