Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2131957
 


 



Hobbes: Patriarch of Legal Positivism, or Reinventor of Natural Law?


Michael Sevel


University of Sydney - Faculty of Law

August 18, 2012

THE BLOOMSBURY COMPANION TO HOBBES, S.A. Lloyd, ed., London: Continuum Press, 2012
Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 12/75

Abstract:     
In this brief entry for the Bloomsbury Companion to Hobbes, I argue that the dilemma posed in the title about Hobbes is a false one: he is both an important and inspirational figure in the legal positivist tradition and makes a novel contribution to natural law theory. But understanding how this is so requires a more complex taxonomy of the possible views one can take about law, both concerning what it is and how we know it. I argue that while Hobbes was a natural law theorist about the existence conditions of law, he was a positivist about how we come by knowledge of the law. His 'epistemic' positivism is what primarily inspired later positivists, and is an underappreciated view in contemporary jurisprudence.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 12

Keywords: Hobbes, jurisprudence, legal positivism, natural law, law, obligation

JEL Classification: K10, K30

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Date posted: August 19, 2012 ; Last revised: October 4, 2012

Suggested Citation

Sevel, Michael, Hobbes: Patriarch of Legal Positivism, or Reinventor of Natural Law? (August 18, 2012). THE BLOOMSBURY COMPANION TO HOBBES, S.A. Lloyd, ed., London: Continuum Press, 2012; Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 12/75. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2131957

Contact Information

Michael Sevel (Contact Author)
University of Sydney - Faculty of Law ( email )
Faculty of Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia
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