Chapter

Simple Positivism

Roger A. Shiner

in Norm and Nature

Published in print September 1992 | ISBN: 9780198257196
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191681721 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198257196.003.0002

Series: Clarendon Law Series

Simple Positivism

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This chapter presents an account of simple positivism. It may be summarized in the following seven theses: (1) law provides a reason for action which is a reason ‘on the balance of reasons’; (2) the authority of law derives from standards entirely external to law; (3) it is possible to take the external point of view altogether to law; (4) it is a contingent truth about some given society how far law in that society is accepted as legitimate; (5) law consists of statutes and common-law precedential rules, and adjudication in hard cases is strongly discretionary; (6) legal interpretation is ‘mechanical’, and the semantics for propositions of law is ‘realist’; and (7) it is contingent whether the law in any particular society is ‘for the common good’ of that society.

Keywords: legal theory; positivism; reason; action; law

Chapter.  9233 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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