Philosophy of Law

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Related to Philosophy of Law: jurisprudence

Philosophy of Law


the study of the most general problems of the theory and world view of jurisprudence and statecraft. Philosophy of law was long an integral part of philosophical systems. The Greek philosophers Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle dealt with such problems as the relation of law and justice, law and statute, and law and force and the place of law in the hierarchy of social values. The philosophy of law also figured prominently in Enlightenment philosophy (in such doctrines as natural law) and in German classical philosophy (in such works as Hegel’s Philosophy of Law).

In bourgeois societies, the philosophy of law is basically a component of a broadly developed legal science, and the term is frequently used as a synonym for the general theory, or general doctrine, of law. However, since the late 19th century, the philosophy of law has more often been understood in a narrower sense, as an autonomous discipline that is distinct from the general theory and sociology of law and involves not the study of law as it is practiced but the ideal, spiritual principles that purportedly form the basis of law. The basic concept of this bourgeois philosophy of law is the “idea of law,” as interpreted by such neo-Kantians as R. Stammler, G. Radbruch, and B. A. Kistia-kovskii or by such neo-Hegelians as J. Binder and K. Lorenz.

Since the mid-20th century the dominant role in the bourgeois philosophy of law has been played by schools based on Husserl’s phenomenology, new realism, existentialism, and neo-Thomism. In addition to apologists for capitalist law and the capitalist legal order, there are schools of critical reformists, who consider necessary the “modernization” of capitalism by means of law.

With the appearance of Marxism, the philosophy of law was treated for the first time within a materialist framework. Marxism synthesizes the philosophical, sociological, and purely legal approaches to the study of law rather than contrasting them, as does bourgeois jurisprudence. Thus, the philosophy of law is one of the aspects of the general theoretical legal discipline, the theory of state and law. In legal literature, the term “philosophy of law” is also applied to the aggregate of theoretical legal problems whose solution requires a philosophical approach, in particular a methodological and epistemological approach.


Filosofskie problemy gosudarstva i prava. Leningrad, 1970.
Kerimov, D. A. Filosofskie problemy prava. Moscow, 1972.
Peschka, V. Grundprobleme der modernen Rechtsphilosophie. [Budapest] 1974.
References in periodicals archive ?
Namely that I, through the study of the philosophy of law, would work through my own philosophy of life.
Other activities will include the presentation of a decree proposal to the Cabinet, design of a course syllabus, and publication of a book on the importance of the Philosophy of Law and its implications on the rule of law.
While this early document contains hints of important, original themes of Hegel's later philosophy of law, the text also reveals far more clearly than his later writings the Kantian and theological parentage of those ideas.
The decisions of six judges are given - and the student's task is to identify what philosophy of law is reflected by each judge.
In 12 papers from an international conference on accountability and liability law held in Utrecht during April 2015, scholars mostly of philosophy of law, but also related professions, discuss law in the risk society: theoretical perspectives; dealing with side effects: duty of care and causation; and theoretical lenses: externalizing liability and freedom to contract.
The volume also includes Marx's Introduction to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Law, Philosophy of Religion, and a good portion of German Ideology.
The essays span the years 1967 to 2010, and are arranged thematically as: I: Reason in Action; II: Intention and Identity; III: Human Rights and Common Good; 1V: Philosophy of Law, and V: Religion and Public Reason.
Hart's (1907-1992) influence on contemporary philosophy is not restricted to the philosophy of law.
There is a cacophony of debates raging in the philosophy of law, which will emerge, I am sure, as a symphony of the theoretical.
And since it incorporates elements of critical philosophical thinking, it is not a misnomer to conclude that jurisprudence is not another enlightened, intellectual enterprise, but rather a philosophy of law.
On December 29, 2002, the American Philosophical Association's Committee on the Philosophy of Law sponsored a symposium on the drug legalization at the Annual Meeting of APA's Eastern Division in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
By demonstrating the linkages between the philosophy of law and the resources of rhetoric, it illustrates the operations of a poetic justice in the literary works of early modern England.

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