Positivism and the Separation of Law and Jurisprudence

9 Pages Posted: 1 Nov 2011

See all articles by Dan Priel

Dan Priel

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School

Date Written: October 31, 2011


This short essay argues that legal philosophy has grown excessively insular. It identifies three ways in which this has happened: jurisprudence has become isolated from legal practice; it has adopted a methodology that encourages a separation between legal philosophy and other interdisciplinary approaches to law as well as other branches of philosophy; and it is committed to the substantive view that looks at law as a distinct social practice. The result has been a discipline that speaks on ever narrower problems mostly with itself. After presenting this state of affairs, the essay proposes various possible ways of changing jurisprudence to make it less isolated and more engaged. They include closer links with legal practice, political philosophy, science, and a rethinking of jurisprudential theories as models rather than a search for the 'nature' of law.

Keywords: jurisprudence, political philosophy, legal positivism, H.L.A. Hart

Suggested Citation

Priel, Dan, Positivism and the Separation of Law and Jurisprudence (October 31, 2011). Osgoode CLPE Research Paper No. 26/2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1951912 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1951912

Dan Priel (Contact Author)

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3

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