Raff Donelson & Ivar Hannikainen: “Fuller and the Folk: The Inner Morality of Law Revisited”

Ivar Hannikainen, an associate member of FiloLab, has published the chapter entitled “Fuller and the Folk: The Inner Morality of Law Revisited” (with Raff Donelson) in the book Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy, Volume 3 (Oxford University Press).

Legal philosophers have long debated whether purported laws must meet specific criteria in order to count as genuine law. Lon Fuller offered a major contribution to this debate when he proposed that legal systems necessarily observe eight procedural principles, which he called “the inner morality of law.” This chapter surveys people’s intuitions regarding Fuller’s procedural principles, revealing limited and fickle support: Laypeople and experienced lawyers alike believed that hypothetical laws would have to abide by procedural principles (e.g. “there could be no retrospective laws”) that actual laws often violate (e.g. “there are laws that are retrospective”). The studies not only demonstrate the ease with which people oscillate between contrasting views about the nature of law, they also illustrate how experimental methods can shed light on long-standing questions at the heart of jurisprudence.

Link to the publication here.

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