June 2, 2011

John M. Finnis On Legal Philosophy

John Finnis, University of Oxford Faculty of Law, and Notre Dame Law School, has published Philosophy of Law: Introduction, in John M. Finnis, 4 Philosophy of Law: Collected Essays (Oxford University Press, 2011). Here is the abstract.

This Introduction to my 'Philosophy of Law: Collected Essays Volume IV' (Oxford University Press 2011), published in the United Kingdom in early April, and in the United States in early May 2011, introduces the volume’s 22 published and unpublished essays, and follows the volume’s division into four Parts: Foundations of Law’s Authority; Theories and Theorists of Law; Legal Reasoning; and the Two Senses of “Legal System.”

The first half of the Introduction is, in effect, a brief new essay on the foundations of the positivity of positive law, revisiting issues taken up in chapter I of Natural Law and Natural Rights and issues involved in the so-called sources thesis and in the labeling of theories as “positivist.” Later parts of the Introduction indicate some patterns emergent in the volume’s many essays on particular theorists and theories; review the bearing of the “one-right answer” thesis on legal reasoning and some prime examples of judicial misreasoning; and the relation of the idea of “legal system” to issues around the emergence of independent states in the British Empire, and around Britain’s absorption into and subjection to the European Union.

The Introduction, like the volume, intersects with the Introductions to, and contents of, each of the other volumes in the five-volume set, which is published just before the second edition of Natural Law and Natural Rights, reformatted to accompany the set and incorporating a 65-page Postscript. The Collected Essays are I Reason in Action, II Intention and Identity, III Human Rights and Common Good, IV Philosophy of Law, V Religion and Public Reasons. Each volume includes the index for the set, and the author’s bibliography.
Download the text from SSRN at the link.

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