Normative Jurisprudence

Normative Jurisprudence : An Introduction

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Normative Jurisprudence aims to reinvigorate normative legal scholarship that both criticizes positive law and suggests reforms for it, on the basis of stated moral values and legalistic ideals. It looks sequentially and in detail at the three major traditions in jurisprudence - natural law, legal positivism and critical legal studies - that have in the past provided philosophical foundations for just such normative scholarship. Over the last fifty years or so, all of these traditions, although for different reasons, have taken a number of different turns - toward empirical analysis, conceptual analysis or Foucaultian critique - and away from straightforward normative criticism. As a result, normative legal scholarship - scholarship that is aimed at criticism and reform - is now lacking a foundation in jurisprudential thought. The book criticizes those developments and suggests a return, albeit with different and in many ways larger challenges, to this traditional understanding of the purpose of legal scholarship.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1139043927
  • 9781139043922

Review quote

"Robin West has done us all a tremendous service by reminding American lawyers, legislators and law professors that the only legitimate end of law is justice. By reinvigorating the science of "normative jurisprudence" -- the study of how to make the law more just -- Professor West has inaugurated a new era in American law. This is an important and immensely valuable book."

- M.N.S. Sellers
Regents Professor, University System of Maryland "Robin West's brilliant book puts the state of normative legal theory in a new light by showing the motives that brought the major theories into being and the contingencies and confusions that laid them low. She gives reason to think we could, and should, have a much richer normative discussion about law than we do. This book is instructive, surprising, and full of well-earned inspiration for the next generation of legal thought."

Jedediah Purdy
Professor of Law, Duke University School of Law
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Table of contents

1. Revitalizing natural law; 2. Legal positivism, censorial jurisprudence, and legal reform; 3. Critical legal studies - the missing years; 4. Reconstructing normative jurisprudence.
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