Bentham's Of Laws in General

H. L. A. Hart

in Essays on Bentham

Published in print November 1982 | ISBN: 9780198254683
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191681509 | DOI:
Bentham's Of Laws in General

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Bentham's Of Laws in General is a remarkable work with a remarkable history. This chapter provides a brief mention of the salient features of the story. Of Laws in General is in fact a continuation of Bentham's best-known work An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation. The latter work was printed in 1780 but its publication was held back by Bentham for nine years. This chapter expounds the main features of this extraordinary work. Its originality and power certainly make it the greatest of Bentham's contributions to analytical jurisprudence, and this chapter states that it is clear that, had it been published in his lifetime, it, rather than John Austin's later and obviously derivative work, would have dominated English jurisprudence, and that analytical jurisprudence, not only in England, would have advanced far more rapidly and branched out in more fertile ways than it has since Bentham's days.

Keywords: Of Laws in General; Bentham; analytical jurisprudence; English jurisprudence; legal sanctions; lawmakers

Chapter.  8499 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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