The Evolution of Western Legal Consciousness

(1979) 2:2 International Journal of Law and Psychiatry 215-234

20 Pages Posted: 12 Dec 2013

See all articles by J. Smith

J. Smith

University of British Columbia - Faculty of Law

David N. Weisstub

Independent

Date Written: 1979

Abstract

There is a marked difference between the nature and structure of western law in both its civil and common law forms and the laws of non-western legal systems. Non-western societies have adopted, or are in the process of adopting western mathematics, science, and law. All three are abstract, theoretical, systematic, and universalizable. Non-western systems in general are what the legal historian Sir Henry Maine called "laws of status" since one’s position before the law was based on race, family, gender, and order of birth.

The western idea of law first emerged in classical Rome. The article traces this transformation in legal consciousness to the impact of Greek mathematics, science, and philosophy and explains how the early Roman jurists used these perspectives to create a legal science for Rome’s emerging commercial empire. Contemporary western law in all its various forms emerged in the same way as contemporary mathematics and science, evolving from that transformation of consciousness from "mythos" to "logos" that marks the origin of western civilization.

Keywords: Patriarchy, Law of Status, Ancient Law, Codes, Mythos, Logos, Natural Law, Variables, Universalizability, Rights in Rem, Rights in Personam, Legal Persons

Suggested Citation

Smith, Joseph and Weisstub, David N., The Evolution of Western Legal Consciousness (1979). (1979) 2:2 International Journal of Law and Psychiatry 215-234, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2350536

Joseph Smith (Contact Author)

University of British Columbia - Faculty of Law ( email )

1822 East Mall
Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z1
Canada

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.ubc.ca/faculty/smith/index.html

David N. Weisstub

Independent

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
47
Abstract Views
399
PlumX Metrics