H. L. A. Hart is heir and torch-bearer of a great tradition in the philosophy of law which is realist and unromantic in outlook. It regards the existence and content of the law as a matter of social fact whose connection with moral or any other values is contingent and precarious. His analysis of the concept of law is part of the enterprise of demythologising the law, of instiIling rational critical attitudes to it. Right from his inaugurallecture in Oxford 2 he was anxious to dispel the philosophical mist which he found in both legal culture and legal theory. In recent years he has shown time and again how much the rejection of the moralizing myths which accumulated around the law is central to his whole outlook. His essays on "Bentham and the Demystification of the Law" and on "The Nightmare and the Noble Dream"3 showed hirn to be consciously sharing the Benthamite sense of the excessive veneration in which the law is held in Common Law countries, and its deleterious moral consequences. His fear that in recent years legal theory has lurched back in that direction, and his view that a major part of its role is to lay the conceptual foundation for a cool and potentially critical assessment of the law are evident.