An Introduction to the Philosophy of Law

 
9781512346992: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Law
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“Philosophy has been a powerful instrument in the legal armory and the times are ripe for restoring it to its old place therein. At least one may show what philosophy has done for some of the chief problems of the science of law, what stands before us to be done in some of the more conspicuous problems of that science today in which philosophy may help us, and how it is possible to look at those problems philosophically without treating them in terms of the eighteenth-century natural law or the nineteenth-century metaphysical jurisprudence which stand for philosophy in the general understanding of lawyers.”


Roscoe Pound was distinguished as one of the most prominent legal scholars in the development of American jurisprudence. In An Introduction to the Philosophy of Law, he describes how philosophy has been a paramount conceptual instrument throughout the history of law. Pound examines what philosophy has done for addressing some of the major challenges of the science of law and how it is possible to look at those problems philosophically without treating them in terms of a particular time period. The function of legal philosophy, writes Pound, is to rationally formulate a general theory of law which conforms to the interests, the general security first and foremost, of society.


According to Pound, philosophies of law historically have rationally adjusted legal developments to the circumstantial needs of society. Pound concerned himself primarily with the practical effects of American legal developments within the context of social interests and general security. He encouraged American jurists to abandon efforts to conform obsolete models of legal philosophy to new realities. The significance of Pound’s scholarship, particularly An Introduction to the Philosophy of Law, is the legal relativism inherent therein and its ongoing impact not merely on American jurisprudence, but on the imperative that American public policy be tested in the juridical crucible of relativism.


Contents


I. The Function of Legal Philosophy


II. The End of Law


III. The Application of Law


IV. Liability


V. Property


VI. Contract


Bibliography



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About the Author:

Roscoe Pound (Nathan) (1870-1964) was dean of Harvard Law School. Before that he was dean at the University of Nebraska School of Law. He is known as the father of the sociological jurisprudence movement and one of America’s earliest leaders advocating for legal realism. He authored numerous books, including The Spirit of the Common Law, Law and Morals, and Criminal Justice in America.

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