Saturday would be the 111th birthday of legal philosopher Lon L. Fuller, author most famously of The Morality of Law and “The Case of The Speluncean Explorers.” Fuller was one of the greatest defenders of the theory of natural law, and his conflict with the positivist school of H.L.A. Hart and others became a legal legend. The “Hart-Fuller Debate” remains every bit as fascinating as it was a half-century ago.
What is law, exactly? Where does it come from? What does it do? What’s the difference between good law, bad law, and no law at all? Fuller didn’t pretend to completely answer these questions, but in his elegantly written, and usually very brief works, Fuller saw deeper than many others who’ve produced thousands of pages more. I’m particularly fond of his lesser-known work, The Law In Quest of Itself.