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The Philosophy of Positive Law – Foundations of Jurisprudence - Yale Scholarship Online
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The Philosophy of Positive Law: Foundations of Jurisprudence

James Bernard Murphy


This book-length study of positive law rewrites central chapters in the history of jurisprudence by uncovering a fundamental continuity among four great legal philosophers: Plato, Thomas Aquinas, Thomas Hobbes, and John Austin. In their theories of positive law, it argues, these thinkers represent successive chapters in a single story. That story revolves around a fundamental ambiguity: is law positive because it is deliberately imposed (as opposed to customary law) or because it lacks moral necessity (as opposed to natural law)? These two senses of positive law are not coextensive yet the dis ... More

Keywords: positive law, history of jurisprudence, legal philosophers, Plato, Thomas Aquinas, Thomas Hobbes, John Austin, customary law, moral necessity, natural law

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2005 Print ISBN-13: 9780300107883
Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013 DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300107883.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

James Bernard Murphy, author