The Tasks of a Philosophy of Law

Robert P. Burns

Northwestern University - School of Law

This short programmatic essay, written for a collection celebrating the seventy-fifth anniversary of Karl Llewellyn's paper "On Philosophy in American Law," sketches the elements of an adequate philosophy of law today. It argues that an adequate philosophy of law must be empirical, interpretive, and critical. It suggests that the lines between philosophy and both anthropology and rhetorical studies will blur. Llewellyn was right in stressing the relative importance of legal practices in understanding what law is, but the early realists were without the relatively more adequate philosophies of human practice since developed and relatively greater range of social scientific findings on those practices since made. Because of its interpretive and normative aspects, jurisprudence will remain one of the humanities and will never be fully naturalized, but it may come to be better informed.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 13

working papers series

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Date posted: September 24, 2007  

Suggested Citation

Burns, Robert P., The Tasks of a Philosophy of Law. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1016124 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1016124

Contact Information

Robert P. Burns (Contact Author)
Northwestern University - School of Law ( email )
375 E. Chicago Ave
Unit 1505
Chicago, IL 60611
United States
312-503-6613 (Phone)
312-503-8977 (Fax)
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