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An Introduction to the Philosophy of Law

An Introduction to the Philosophy of Law: Revised edition

Copyright Date: 1982
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 212
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    An Introduction to the Philosophy of Law
    Book Description:

    "Among books of similar scope, this is the recognized classic. Those who read this book will have the strange privilege ofthinking things togetherin the law from the beginning of world history to the moment Pound sent his writings to the printer."-American Bar Association Journal

    eISBN: 978-0-300-16160-1
    Subjects: Law, Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-x)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. xi-xii)
  3. CHAPTER 1 The Function of Legal Philosophy
    (pp. 1-24)

    For twenty-four hundred years—from the Greek thinkers of the fifth century B.C. who asked whether right was right by nature or only by enactment and convention, to the social philosophers of today, who seek the ends, the ethical basis and the enduring principles of social control—the philosophy of law has taken a leading role in all study of human institutions. The perennial struggle of American administrative law with nineteenth-century constitutional formulations of Aristotle’s threefold classification of governmental power, the stone wall of natural rights against which attempts to put an end to private war in industrial disputes for...

  4. CHAPTER 2 The End of Law
    (pp. 25-47)

    Making or finding law, call it which you will, presupposes a mental picture of what one is doing and of why he is doing it. Hence the nature of law has been the chief battleground of jurisprudence since the Greek philosophers began to argue as to the basis of the law’s authority. But the end of law has been debated more in politics than in jurisprudence. In the stage of equity and natural law the prevailing theory of the nature of law seemed to answer the question as to its end. In the maturity of law the law was thought...

  5. CHAPTER 3 The Application of Law
    (pp. 48-71)

    Three steps are involved in the adjudication of a controversy according to law: (1) Finding the law, ascertaining which of the many rules in the legal system is to be applied, or, if none is applicable, reaching a rule for the cause (which may or may not stand as a rule for subsequent cases) on the basis of given materials in some way which the legal system points out; (2) interpreting the rule so chosen or ascertained, that is, determining its meaning as it was framed and with respect to its intended scope; (3) applying to the cause in hand...

  6. CHAPTER 4 Liability
    (pp. 72-106)

    A systematist who would fit the living body of the law to his logical analytical scheme must proceed after the manner of Procrustes. Indeed, this is true of all science. In life phenomena are unique. The biologist of today sometimes doubts whether there are species and disclaims higher groups as more than conveniences of study. “Dividing lines,” said a great American naturalist, “do not occur in nature except as accidents.” Organization and system are logical constructions of the expounder rather than in the external world expounded. They are the means whereby we make our experience of that world intelligible and...

  7. CHAPTER 5 Property
    (pp. 107-132)

    Economic life of the individual in society, as we know it, involves four claims. One is a claim to the control of certain corporeal things, the natural media on which human existence depends. Another is a claim to freedom of industry and contract as an individual asset, apart from free exercise of one’s powers as a phase of personality, since in a highly organized society the general existence may depend to a large extent upon individual labor in specialized occupations, and the power to labor freely at one’s chosen occupation may be one’s chief asset. Third, there is a claim...

  8. CHAPTER 6 Contract
    (pp. 133-168)

    Wealth, in a commercial age, is made up largely of promises. An important part of everyone’s substance consists of advantages which others have promised to provide for or to render to him; of demands to have the advantages promised, which he may assert not against the world at large but against particular individuals. Thus the individual claims to have performance of advantageous promises secured to him. He claims the satisfaction of expectations created by promises and agreements. If this claim is not secured friction and waste obviously result, and unless some countervailing interest must come into account which would be...

  9. Bibliography
    (pp. 169-188)
  10. Index
    (pp. 189-201)