Legal Positivism in American Jurisprudence

Legal Positivism in American Jurisprudence

Hardback Cambridge Studies in Philosophy & Law

By (author) Anthony Sebok, Series edited by Gerald J. Postema, Series edited by Jules L. Coleman, Series edited by R. A. Duff, Series edited by David Lyons, Series edited by D.Neil MacCormick, Series edited by Stephen R. Munzer, Series edited by Philip Pettit, Series edited by Joseph Raz, Series edited by Jeremy Waldron

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  • Publisher: CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS
  • Format: Hardback | 344 pages
  • Dimensions: 168mm x 231mm x 28mm | 635g
  • Publication date: 1 April 2004
  • Publication City/Country: Cambridge
  • ISBN 10: 0521480418
  • ISBN 13: 9780521480413
  • Edition statement: New.
  • Illustrations note: black & white illustrations

Product description

This book represents a serious and philosophically sophisticated guide to modern American legal theory, demonstrating that legal positivism has been a misunderstood and underappreciated perspective through most of twentieth-century American legal thought. Anthony Sebok traces the roots of positivism through the first half of the twentieth century, and rejects the view that one must adopt some version of natural law theory in order to recognize moral principles in the law. On the contrary, once one corrects for the mistakes of formalism and postwar legal process, one is left with a theory of legal positivism that takes moral principles seriously while avoiding the pitfalls of natural law. The broad scope of this book ensures that it will be read by philosophers of law, historians of law, historians of American intellectual life, and those in political science concerned with public law and administration.

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Review quote

"...the great strength of Sebok's book...is the ease with which he is able to demonstrate that so many of the great names of American jurisprudence were wrong in what they tried to teach us." Scott D. Gerber, The Law and Politic Book Review "...an excellent companion for collections on legal theory, history, and philosophy of law." Choice "Anthony Sebok's Legal Positivism in American Jurisprudence is a fine and important book, and it deserves to be read on both sides of the Atlantic by all those with an interest in Anglo-American legal history, Anglo-American legal theory, and the peculiar Anglo-American idea of positive law...Sebok participates in an important modern trend. Luckily for the readers of his book, Sebok is a better historian than he lets on, and his book rises above the personal journey that he promises." Rechtshistorisches Journal

Back cover copy

"This book is both a work of intellectual history and a contribution to legal philosophy. It represents a serious and philosophically sophisticated guide to modern American legal theory, demonstrating that legal positivism has been a misunderstood and underappreciated perspective throughout most of twentieth-century American legal thought."--BOOK JACKET. "The broad scope of this book ensures that it will be read by philosophers of law, historians of law, historians of American intellectual life, and those in political science concerned with public law and administration."--BOOK JACKET.

Table of contents

Acknowlegments; 1. Why study legal positivism; 2. Positivism and formalism; 3. The varieties of formalism; 4. Legal process and the shadow of positivism; 5. The false choice between the Warren Court and legal process; 6. Fundamental rights and the problem of insatiability; 7. New legal positivism and the incorporation of morality.