I am sad to report that Ronald Dworkin, one of the most important legal theorists of the past sixty years, has passed away. Dworkin wrote on a wide variety of topics, including jurisprudence, constitutional theory, moral and political philosophy, and on a variety of current topics in the New York Review of Books. His early collection of essays, Taking Rights Seriously , had a enormous influence on Anglophone thinking about the nature of law. These ideas were worked into a more systematic statement in Law's Empire. His theory, Law as Integrity, may not have been accepted in full by many, but the central method of that theory--the notion that legal content is given by the theory that best fits and justifies the legal materials--penetrated deep into thinking about law. He was also know for a series of essays, sharing "What is Equality" in their title. Here is Dworkin lecturing on that topic in a Youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PrDJAm09F-E. Dworkin's output was prodigious and his intellect was ferocious. He was famous for making seemingly effortless presentations, composed in perfect sentences and paragraphs, but apparently delivered on the fly--almost always without notes. Dworkin was not one to give ground. Critics were frequently frustrated by his deflection of arguments by restating his position in a way that objections did not apply and then insisting that this had been his position all along. He was famous for the workshops he hosted, in which he would both present and critique the authors work: it was always quite a show. Dworkin was for many years the Professor of Jurisprudence at the University of Oxford, he followed H.L.A. Hart in that chair. He also taught at New York University, Yale, and the University of London. He clerked for Learned Hand and worked at Sullivan and Cromwell.
Dworkin was undoubtedly one of the greats. He transformed legal theory and the philosophy of law. He was deeply committed to liberalism and equality, and lived a life of style and much grace.
And links to some of the obituaries:
New York Times (Adam Liptak)
* The Guardian (Godfrey Hodgson)
* Der Spiegel
* Deutschlandsfunk (Ottfried Höffe)
* Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Patrick Bahners)
* The Atlantic Wire (David Wagner)
* Financial Times (Edward Luce)
* Süddeutsche Zeitung (Alexandra Kemmerer)
* Die Welt (Mara Delius)