Thom Brooks

in Hegel's Political Philosophy

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print November 2007 | ISBN: 9780748625741
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652532 | DOI:

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Hegel's legal philosophy has been categorised in various ways. Different commentators claim Hegel's theory endorses natural law, legal positivism, the historical school of jurisprudence, a precursor of Marxist legal theory, postmodern critical theory or even transcendental idealist legal theory. In a previous work, the author argued that that Hegel's legal philosophy occupies a space inbetween natural law and legal positivism. He no longer holds this view, and presents a new picture of Hegel's legal theory in this chapter. The chapter defends the position that Hegel is a natural lawyer, although not of a more familiar variety. Natural lawyers argue that there is an external standard or set of standards which we can employ to assess the justice of our positive, or written, laws. Hegel's natural law differs from these accounts insofar as he instead uses an internal standard of justice that is immanent to law. The chapter is organised as follows. First, it explains the primary features of the natural law tradition. Second, the chapter considers how closely Hegel's theory of law resembles this general perspective. Third, it argues that Hegel's theory presents us with an internalist natural law. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the role of popular institutions in the development of law.

Keywords: Hegel; legal philosophy; natural lawyer; legal theory; internalist natural law

Chapter.  6457 words. 

Subjects: Social and Political Philosophy

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