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Legal Science as a Source of Law: A Late Reply by Puchta to Kantorowicz

25 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2013  

Alexander Somek

University of Iowa - College of Law

Date Written: November 13, 2012


The paper explores a claim made by Hermann Ulrich Kantorowicz in a historically signification pamphlet, which may in some respect well have prepared the intellectual ground for the American legal realist movement. The claim is that the legal science is a source of law. It is startling, to say the least, to find this claim articulated in the context of a piece of "sociological" jurisprudence. The paper then contrasts Kantorowicz's claim with the the parallel claim made by the historical school and concludes that the ideas articulated by its members - Georg Friedrich Puchta, in particular - were exceedingly more plausible. In order to understand this, however, it is necessary to conceive of all legal knowledge as a species of self-knowledge. This is the idea that the paper tries to make plausible and, indeed, to defend.

Keywords: Legal Theory, sources of law, legal science, historical school, free law movement

Suggested Citation

Somek, Alexander, Legal Science as a Source of Law: A Late Reply by Puchta to Kantorowicz (November 13, 2012). U Iowa Legal Studies Research Paper No. 13-7. 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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