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Austin and Scandinavian Realism
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Philosophy. (praktisk filosofi)
2013 (English)In: The Legacy of John Austin's Jurisprudence / [ed] Michael Freeman and Patricia Mindus, Springer-Verlag New York, 2013, 73-106 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The imperative theory of law exemplified in the work of John Austin is the object of much criticism in the movement of Scandinavian legal realism (SLR). The very core notions of command, sovereignty and will are targeted. This paper explores the Scandinavian readings of Austin’s theory, chiefly by reconstructing the main arguments of Axel Hägerström’s criticism of the will-theory and Karl Olivecrona’s reading of the imperative character of law. Special attention is paid to the affinities between the various outlooks and to their core differences. On one hand, strong resemblances can be discovered in the common methodological afflatus and respect for Hume’s principle. On the other hand – apart from contrasting opinions on minor aspects (such as tacit consent grounding custom) – among the unbridgeable divergences mention should be made of the view on morals: Austin embraced a form of cognitivism, while the Scandinavians supported a strict form of non-cognitivism. In order to assess the originality of the Scandinavian attack on the imperative theory of law, the aim of the paper is to test to what extent it stimulated the seminal work on the question of law’s authoritative dimension in SLR.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer-Verlag New York, 2013. 73-106 p.
, Law and Philosophy Library, ISSN 1572-4395 ; 103
Keyword [en]
John Austin, Command Theory of Law, Nature of Law, Scandinavian Legal Realism, Separation Thesis, Ethical Realism, Non-Cognitivism, Voluntarism.
National Category
Philosophy, Ethics and Religion Law and Society Philosophy History of Ideas Ethics
Research subject
Practical Philosophy; Jurisprudence; Legal History and Sociology of Law
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-181284OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-181284DiVA: diva2:555623
Available from: 2012-09-20 Created: 2012-09-20 Last updated: 2012-10-01Bibliographically approved

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