Giovanni Bisogni

A Forerunner of the Constitutional State: Gustav Radbruch and the Philosophy of Law (1932)

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The article holds that Gustav Radbruch, through his 1932 Rechtsphilosophie, was an important forerunner of constitutional State model arisen after World War II. This thesis is demonstrated by contextualizing the 1932 book in the debate among legal scholars of that period about Weimar Republic (and its crisis). Indeed, within such a debate Radbruch’s thought appears to be rather original if compared to other interpreters (Kelsen, Heller, Schmitt, Smend). This originality also emerges from Radbruch’s conception of a classic topic in legal philosophy: the relation between law and morality. In particular, the way Radbruch interprets this relation shows a great deal of balance and moderation. These features are deemed today as essential in pluralistic democracies


  • Gustav Radbruch
  • Legal Philosophy
  • Constitutional State
  • Law
  • Morality


Article first page

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