Jeremy Waldron

in The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Philosophy

Published in print November 2007 | ISBN: 9780199234769
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:



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Analytic legal philosophy addresses the nature of legal norms, their relation to moral and other reasons, and their interpretation and application by courts. Questions about the nature of law have long been dominated by the classic dispute between legal positivists and theorists of natural law. Positivists hold that whether a legal system exists in a given society, and if so what the answer is in that society to any particular legal question, are matters of fact about how power is exercised in that society. Natural lawyers believe that law is in the first instance a set of moral norms embodied in the way things are; they associate law with objective principles of justice and right, accessible to reason, which can be used as standards to judge the exercise of human power.

Keywords: legal philosophy; legal norms; natural law; legal positivists; legal systems; human power

Article.  13818 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Social and Political Philosophy

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