Juridical World View

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Juridical World View


an idealist system of views in accordance with which the state and law are considered as the basis and chief motivating factor of social development. The juridical world view was formed during the struggle of the bourgeoisie against feudalism and absolutism. F. Engels called the juridical world view “the classic world view of the bourgeoisie,” taking the place of the teleological world view held in the Middle Ages.

Gnoseologically speaking, concepts of law as the foundation of society are derived largely from the circumstance that the juridical forms connected with simple commodity production, which were expressed in Roman law, proved necessary in the capitalist economy. Because these legal forms survived changes in social formations and political systems, the illusion arose that they were the most solid and perfect bases of society. As capitalism developed, the role of law in both economics and politics greatly increased, thus lending credence to the juridical world view.

The juridical world view emphasized the importance of legal principles and legality in the life of society and made the antifeudal demand that government by men be replaced with government by law; however, it depicted the actual regularities of social development in a distorted form. The juridical world view absolutized the juridical form of social relations, thus concealing their true social content; in this way bourgeois law hid actual inequality behind legal equality and hid economic compulsion behind a heralded freedom of contract.

The “juridical socialism” of A. Menger was based on the juridical world view. Juridical socialism was a reformist theory stating that capitalism could develop into socialism simply through perfection of the law.

The transformation of industrial capitalism into monopoly capitalism requires considerable changes in the legal system; thus, given conditions of aggravated class antagonism, the juridical world view has lost its dominant position. Nevertheless, some bourgeois theorists consider bourgeois law a possible means of radically transforming capitalism.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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