I would like to introduce this book by clarifying the inspiration for yet another attempt to shed fresh light upon what many have come to regard as a frustratingly elusive and, it appears, fatally contested concept: the idea of ‘law5 itself. Contemporary Anglo-American legal theory can fairly be described as being in transition, slowly emerging from a period of selfdoubting stasis, barely having survived the critical onslaught of a hostile climate of philosophical scepticism. For some, concern with the idea of ia w 5 has been replaced by new concerns, be it the commendable legal educational goal of seeking innovative modes of disseminating legal information, or a growing preoccupation with analysis of linguistic, rhetorical, and interpretive dimensions of legal practice. I firmly believe I am far from alone in not concluding that such emerging fields of legal inquiry have rendered legal theory creatively obsolete and no longer a vital element in legal philosophy. Quite the reverse. Radical new perspectives within philosophy in general, and legal inquiry in particular, continue to generate challenging invitations to respond imaginatively, and the fact that such radical new intellectual perspectives are still possible at all ought to encourage belief that the central idea of ‘law5 itself may also be the subject of imaginative and insightful re-explanation.