H. L. A. Hart's legal theory is a theory of legal order as an order of rules. These rules are a particular variety of social rules that derive from social sources and exist in virtue of social practices. For Hart, these social rules depend on, or express, the attitudes of human beings toward their own and other humans' conduct as well as their ways of acting and interacting with each other as conscious agents. As a jurist, Hart addressed the explanation of laws as social rules and the explanation of social rules and rejected the notion that rules are some kind of command or imperative. He highlighted an “internal aspect” of social rules as against mere habits and external regularities of behavior. Moreover, he proposed a new route to the explanation of social rules dependent on what may be called a “hermeneutic” approach. Hart's practice theory of social rules, and by implication, legal rules as a special type of social rules, makes a distinctive, original, and valuable contribution to jurisprudence.
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