1st Edition

The Nature of Law A Philosophical Inquiry

By Stefan Sciaraffa Copyright 2018
    280 Pages
    by Routledge

    280 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book is an attempt to provide a philosophical answer to the simple question, "What is the law?" as well as address the various debates this question has spawned. Along the way, it develops a unique position within analytic jurisprudence by carefully distinguishing between a theory of the nature of a legal system and a theory of the nature of legal content (that is, of individual laws). Finally, it applies the framework established in the first part of the book to two substantive areas within legal theory: legal reasoning and international legal systems.

    The result is a unique introduction to the philosophy of law, one that presents and tests a theory of analytic jurisprudence, while it introduces students and others to this sub-field of philosophy. It explains and clarifies for students the views of the most significant scholars in the philosophy of law—those of H.L.A. Hart, Hans Kelsen, Joseph Raz, Ronald Dworkin, and John Finnis—and offers a critique of each. This approach should appeal to all types of philosophers--students and scholars alike--who are wary of wading into the field of legal theory as well as philosophers of law who wouldn’t find useful or interesting a mere survey of the field.


    Part I: Methodology and the Social Facts of Law

    Chapter 1: Conceptual Analysis and the Naturalist Challenge

    Chapter 2: Hermeneutic Objects

    Part II: Law and Morality

    Chapter 3: Theories of Legal Systems

    Chapter 4: Theories of Legal Content: Debates within Positivism

    Chapter 5: Theories of Legal Content: Positivism, Natural Law, and Post-Positivism

    Part III: Legal Reasoning

    Chapter 6: The Autonomy of Legal Reasoning

    Chapter 7: Constitutionalism

    Part IV: International Law

    Chapter 8: International Law


    Stefan Sciaraffa (Ph.D., Philosophy, University of Arizona, 2007; J.D., University of Texas, 1997) is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at McMaster University. His scholarly articles have appeared in Law and Philosophy, Legal Theory, and The European Journal of Philosophy, and forthcoming articles have been accepted for publication in UNAM and in Jurisprudence.