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Publisher's Summary

It is said:

  • What laws are
  • What legal interpretation (so-called) is
  • What governments are
  • How governmental authority differs from the pseudo-authority of a gunman
  • How moral and legal obligations are related, and
  • Under what circumstances it is and is not morally permissible to break the law.

©2016 J.-M. Kuczynski (P)2017 J.-M. Kuczynski

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best book on law i've ever read

If you could sum up The Moral Structure of Legal Obligation in three words, what would they be?

it was rigorous and scholarly, but also strangely lyrical.

What other book might you compare The Moral Structure of Legal Obligation to and why?

'jurisprudence' by salmond, similar viewpoints, similar style.

Have you listened to any of Mark Symms’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

not familiar with mr. symms.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

the part on originalism was....original

Any additional comments?

great book. surprised i haven't heard of this guy before.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
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sharp and deep

An amazing analysis of positivism and other theories about law. I learned so, so much from this. And very listenable!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
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  • Phil O.
  • San Diego, CA, United States
  • 11-05-17

Terrific pencil-sharpener for the mind

I've been teaching law at college level for over 32 years, and this is a model of clarity among all works I've seen. The examples are crystal clear, well-conceived, easy to grasp, and consistently funny! This is no mean trick. Even for those of us with considered opinions on much of this, and who may disagree, the walk-through is worthwhile for the sheer lucidity of arguments. The narration is a good match for the material, being almost error-free.
It is thorough, though not exhaustive: for example, the book closes with an argument that originalism, so-called, as a form of legal interpretation is incoherent. Well and good, and well argued. I agree with the author that originalism includes (my paraphrase) a spurious sort of reconstruction of, say, Thomas Jefferson in support of a wholly modern argument -- say, against gay marriage, which never crossed Jefferson's mind, and if it did, would be colored by all sorts of archaisms (as with Jefferson's acceptance of slavery, common to many founders but rejected wholly today). But if I could (maybe in the way the author criticizes) reanimate originalism's main proponent, Antonin Scalia, from beyond the pale, and summon him to this discussion, I think he would have at least one tack wholly missed here. To summon my shadow-Scalia, and put words in his mouth, I think he might say, a main point of originalism is (given our separation of powers, a concept not addressed specifically in this work) about WHO today gets to make the call, to the effect that a meaning of a legal concept has shifted. Scalia's point, I think, would be that, if indeed a concept's (and thus, law's) meaning has shifted over time, say, about the potential constitutionality of gay marriage, the way the shift should be signalled, by constitutional separation of powers, is by act of the legislature, and not by lawmaking by judges in judicial decisions. (Mr. Scalia honored this in the breach too, but that is too collateral for the moment.) But I am merely picking around the edges of an excellent work.
In sum, I must credit this author with having nudged my own mind to engage on this level. With so many others here, I am an avid fan of Mr. Kuczynski.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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The most thoughtful book I have ever read

I did not have any idea that the law could thought about so...thoughtfully. This is a very unique and brilliant work. And I love the narrator!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful