In "The End of Empire: Dworkin and Jurisprudence in the 21st Century," I demonstrated that the seven most distinctive Dworkinian theses about the nature of law and adjudication have been extensively and decisively criticized over the past three decades, so much so that Dworkin himself has abandoned several of them. Dworkin has now responded to my essay in a new monograph, "Justice for Hedgehogs."
In this short paper, I demonstrate that "Justice for Hedgehogs" fails to redeem any of the seven major Dworkinian theses. In many cases, Dworkin abandons his prior arguments for his distinctive claims, substituting new, but much weaker arguments, for prior positions that, while demonstrably false, at least had the virtue of some philosophical interest.
There is, however, one new claim in "Justice for Hedgehogs" that does raise a philosophically interesting question. Dworkin now argues that all human intellectual activity falls into two categories, "interpretation" and "science." Although Dworkin's claim that law and morality are interpretive activities is utterly devoid of philosophically interesting content, his new claim that science is not an interpretive activity does raise fundamental questions about the nature of science. The concluding section of this essay demonstrates that Dworkin's claim that science is noninterpretive is inconsistent with each of the major contending positions in the philosophy of science. In particular, Dworkin has failed to see the implication of the well-established notion that observations are theory laden. Paradoxically, Dworkin has failed to recognize the science is the only domain of human activity to which his theory, interpretivism, actually applies.