New York University Law Professor Ronald Dworkin, considered by many to be the most influential figure in contemporary Anglo-American legal theory, has been awarded the Holberg International Memorial Prize for 2007. The award is given by the Ludvig Holberg Memorial Fund and recognizes outstanding scholarly work in the arts and humanities, social sciences, law, and theology. The official award ceremony for the Holberg Prize will take place on November 28 in Bergen, Norway.
New York University Law Professor Ronald Dworkin, considered by many to be the most influential figure in contemporary Anglo-American legal theory, has been awarded the Holberg International Memorial Prize for 2007. The award, which carries a cash prize of $750,000 (555,000 euro), is given by the Ludvig Holberg Memorial Fund and recognizes outstanding scholarly work in the arts and humanities, social sciences, law, and theology. The official award ceremony for the Holberg Prize will take place on November 28 in Bergen, Norway.
Dworkin, the Frank Henry Sommer Professor of Law at NYU’s School of Law, is best known for his work Law’s Empire (1986), in which he asserts judges must interpret—rather than simply apply—past legal decisions, resulting in a general theory of what interpretation is and why one interpretation is better than others.
“Ronald Dworkin has developed an original and highly influential theory of law in which the law is based on ethical principles,” the award’s citation stated. “His work is characterized by a unique ability to tie abstract philosophical ideas and arguments together with concrete everyday issues in law, moral philosophy, and politics.
The board of the memorial fund awards the prize on the basis of the recommendation of an academic committee consisting of internationally recognized researchers in the academic fields covered by the prize.
“Ronald Dworkin has been a central player in jurisprudence and the social sciences for the last 40 years,” added Professor Jan Fridthjof Bernt, chair of the board of the Ludvig Holberg Memorial Fund. “His critique of traditional legal positivism, in which legal rules are seen exclusively as issued commands, is of particular importance. In opposition to this theory, Dworkin has developed a theory of law which enables legal rules to be understood as norms whose content is the result of an ongoing interaction among political decisions, society’s needs, and moral considerations.”
Dworkin, who also holds an appointment in NYU’s Department of Philosophy, has been at NYU’s School of Law since 1975.
“Professor Dworkin is a towering figure in law and philosophy, and perhaps the most influential legal philosopher of his generation,” said NYU School of Law Dean Richard Revesz. “The legendary colloquium in legal, political, and social philosophy that he has long taught with renowned NYU philosopher Thomas Nagel is a centerpiece of intellectual life at the law school and a model for interdisciplinary teaching in law schools and other academic departments around the country.”
A clerk for Judge Learned Hand, Dworkin was a professor of law at Yale University Law School from 1962 to1969 and has been professor of jurisprudence at Oxford and fellow of University College since 1969. Dworkin is a fellow of the British Academy and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In addition to Law’s Empire, he has written Taking Rights Seriously (1977), A Matter of Principle (1985), Philosophical Issues in Senile Dementia (1987), A Bill of Rights for Britain (1990), Life’s Dominion (1993), Freedom’s Law (1996), and Is Democracy Possible Here? Principles for a New Political Debate (2006).
Born in 1931, Dworkin has bachelor’s degrees from Harvard (1953) and Oxford (1955), a master’s degree from Yale (1956), and an LL.B. from Harvard Law School (1957).
For more information and to download photos of the prizewinners, go to: www.holbergprisen.no
Contact information: Information about the prizes/ awards:
Jan Fridthjof Bernt, chair of the board of the Ludvig Holberg Memorial Fund
Telephone: (+47) 55 58 95 80
Mobile: (+47) 95 74 31 00
Winner of the Holberg International Memorial Prize for 2007: Ronald Dworkin
Please contact Trine Kleven, project manager for the Holberg Prize Email: email@example.com.
Telephone: (+47) 55 58 69 92
Mobile: (+47) 95 94 01 14
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