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Legal History

2012

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Dan Priel

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Towards Classical Legal Positivism, Dan Priel Feb 2012

Towards Classical Legal Positivism, Dan Priel

Dan Priel

Open almost any textbook on jurisprudence and you will find it beginning with a discussion of natural law and legal positivism. Almost without exception one finds in them two claims. First, what sets legal positivism and natural law apart is a difference on the conceptual question of the relationship between law and morality. Natural lawyers believe that law or legality are necessarily connected to morality, whereas legal positivists deny that. The second claim tells a story about the historical development of legal positivism: according to the familiar story the classical legal positivists like Thomas Hobbes and Jeremy Bentham subscribed to ...