The Spirit of Legal Positivism

49 Pages Posted: 8 Jun 2010

See all articles by Alexander Somek

Alexander Somek

University of Iowa - College of Law

Date Written: June 7, 2010


Legal positivism is nowadays mostly associated with the work of H.L.A. Hart and those scholars who try to defend his theory against Ronald Dworkin’s critique. This is quite paradoxical given that the Hartian persuasion is not at all animated by legal positivism’s ambition to submit law and legal reasoning to demystification. The article attempts to expose the shortcomings of the Hartian persuasion by submitting it to a critique that remains faithful to Kelsen’s project of demystification.

Keywords: Legal Positivism, Constructivism, Rule of Recognition, Jules Coleman, Ronald Dworkin, H.L.A. Hart, G.W.F. Hegel, Hans Kelsen

Suggested Citation

Somek, Alexander, The Spirit of Legal Positivism (June 7, 2010). University of Iowa Legal Studies Research Paper No. 10-21, Available at SSRN: or

Alexander Somek (Contact Author)

University of Iowa - College of Law ( email )

Melrose and Byington
Iowa City, IA 52242
United States

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