Philosophy of Law

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Related to Philosophy of Law: jurisprudence
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
at 2-3 (citing Roscoe Pound, Introduction to the Philosophy of Law 1 (1922).
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.
(12.) Joseph Raz, Can There Be a Theory of Law?, in the Blackwell guide to the Philosophy of Law and Legal Theory 324 (Martin P.
Esteban Gomez Gaitan, Post-doctorate in History at the University of Guanajuato, Mexico; "Transitional justice: The renunciation of what cannot be renounced?1' of professor Nuria Belloso Martin, Professor of Philosophy of Law at the Faculty of Law of the University of Burgos, Spain.
There is a cacophony of debates raging in the philosophy of law, which will emerge, I am sure, as a symphony of the theoretical.
Hart's (1907-1992) influence on contemporary philosophy is not restricted to the philosophy of law. As the book's sub-title suggests and the table of contents confirm, he wrote widely on matters social, political and moral, not just legal.
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.
Gans took individual responsibility for preparing the text for two of the most important titles, Hegel's Philosophy of Law and Philosophy of History.
He argued that "the ultimate test for us of what a truth means is the conduct it dictates or inspires." Among those who strongly felt James's influence was Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.: His most celebrated judicial opinions, according to Lloyd Morris, "reflected his pragmatic philosophy of law."

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