The Becoming-Other of Law: Preliminaries for a Citizen's Conceptualization of Law

Ricardo Miranda


The author’s hypothesis is that modern legal theories view law solely from the standpoint of ruling class or, in Hartian language, from the external point of view. Why? In sume because legal philosophers have implicitly accepted law as the exclusive domain of government and partisan politics. This approach, however, has been disrupted by poststructuralist political developments, which serve as a powerful impetus to modify prevailing concepts. This analysis begins with Benjamín Arditi’s idea regarding what he calls “the becoming other of politics,” an argument to radically change how the law is conceived. It then examines a very particular point of the theory proposed by the legal philosopher Herbert Hart, who distinguishes between the “external” and “internal” points of view with respect to how the rules of a legal system may be described or evaluated. In effect, Hart distinguishes between: (i) the external aspect, which is the independently observable fact that people tend to obey rules with regularity; and (ii) the internal aspect, which is the obligation felt by most individuals to follow the rules. It is from this latter “internal sense” that the law acquires its normative quality. Unfortunately, Hart only applies the internal point of view to government officials, in effect rendering his thesis inconsistent. The article ends with a brief analysis of Dworkin’s Herculean judge theory, arguing that Dworkin also gets trapped between the paradigm of government and partisan politics.


Post-liberal democracy, Benjamín Arditi, apocryphal jurisprudence, post-liberal law, post-structuralist legal studies.

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