Necessary Connection between a Theory of Law and Theory of the State

7 Pages Posted: 6 Jun 2019

See all articles by Mika Lehtimäki

Mika Lehtimäki

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law

Date Written: May 18, 2019


Legal theory is essentially an inquiry into the nature of law, its fundamental features and institutions. Such theories are also inherently linked with human communities and especially communities that have acquired institutionalised features and practices that we commonly call ‘legal’. As such, law and legal system is often an aspect of a political system. Theories of the state, on the other hand, deal essentially with questions on the possibilities of legitimate structure of domination in our political societies, often in territorial states centralized for collective and exclusive exercise of power over our lives and fortunes. This paper evaluates two apparently opposing views on the necessary connections of theories of law and state. I argue in the paper that the question is a fundamental one and results directly from the underlying objectives a legal or a political theorists sets as his or her agenda. For example setting as the fundamental objective of law as providing normative reasons for action of its subjects, remaining true to the agenda does not require inquiry into moral or equivalent justifications. The opposite is true is if the fundamental objective of law were constraining the government from atrocities against its subjects.

Keywords: jurisprudence, political theory, normative, legal theory, theory of state

JEL Classification: K10

Suggested Citation

Lehtimäki, Mika, Necessary Connection between a Theory of Law and Theory of the State (May 18, 2019). Available at SSRN: or

Mika Lehtimäki (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law ( email )

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