Legal Philosophy: Roots and Recent Themes

John Finnis

in Philosophy of Law

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199580088
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729409 | DOI:
Legal Philosophy: Roots and Recent Themes

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This chapter is a third version — this time for a Chinese readership — of a brief (sixteen-page) encyclopedia-style overview of the history of Western legal philosophy from the pre-Socratics to Hart, Dworkin, Posner, Unger, and others, focusing on showing the bearing of that history on contemporary problems in the field. Causation, legal personality, and legal interpretation are selected for illustration, but the survey concentrates on the wider issues of method that determine the content and explanatory power of rival approaches. One conclusion along the way is that Aquinas's conception of law's positivity is superior to Hart's and the various legal ‘positivisms’ are a distraction.

Keywords: legal philosophy; method; positivity; positivism; Hart; Dworkin; Posner; Unger; Aquinas; causation

Chapter.  7160 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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