Chapter

Blackstone's Theoretical Intentions

John Finnis

in Philosophy of Law

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199580088
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729409 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199580088.003.0009
Blackstone's Theoretical Intentions

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The introductory discourse in Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England (1765), and its definition of law, has usually been read as focused on the thesis that unjust laws are not laws. But that was not Blackstone's point, and his theoretical intentions, as manifested in the highly deliberated architecture of the Commentaries (traced in historical origin and structural and linguistic detail in the chapter), were much more interesting and complex. Like the main body of the natural law tradition, his interest lay in the various forms of derivation of positive from natural law (moral principle). His works' fruits in William Jones 1781 Essay on Bailments are methodologically superior to Bentham's work from 1776 onwards.

Keywords: Blackstone; Commentaries; natural law tradition; William Jones; Bentham

Chapter.  10942 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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