H.L.A. Hart and the Invention of Legal Philosophy

19 Pages Posted: 29 Sep 2011

See all articles by Dan Priel

Dan Priel

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School

Date Written: September 28, 2011


In this essay I argue that in some sense legal philosophy, at least as the term is now understood among analytic jurisprudence in the Anglophone world, is to a large extent a creation of H.L.A. Hart. It is with him that the search for the concept of nature of law has been established as an independent object of inquiry that consciously tried to avoid moral or political questions. In framing the province of jurisprudence in this way Hart not only depart from the work of Thomas Hobbes and Jeremy Bentham, whose political commitments are well-known, but also from the seemingly much closer enterprise of John Austin. After demonstrating the difference between Austin's work and Hart's I criticize the direction legal philosophy has taken following Hart's lead.

Keywords: Jurisprudence, H.L.A. Hart, John Austin, Normativity

Suggested Citation

Priel, Dan, H.L.A. Hart and the Invention of Legal Philosophy (September 28, 2011). Osgoode CLPE Research Paper No. 17/2011, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1934953 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1934953

Dan Priel (Contact Author)

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3

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