John Finnis

What is the Philosophy of Law?

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Law, Ethics, Politics, Natural Law Theories, Normativity, Positivism.

This paper proposes that the philosophy of law is not separate from but dependent upon ethics and political philosophy, which it extends by that attention to the past (of sources, constitutions, contracts, acquired rights, etc.) which is characteristic of juridical thought for reasons articulated by the philosophy of law. Positivism, it is further proposed, is legitimate only as a thesis of or topic within natural law theory, which adequately incorporates it but remains engaged with the ethical and political issues and challenges both perennial and peculiar to this age. The paper concludes by proposing a task for legal philosophy in coming years, in light of the fact that legal systems are not simply sets of norms.

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