chapter  6
LEGAL POSITIVISM
Pages 28

Legal positivism is the name given to a great school of juristic thought, which includes such luminaries of philosophy as Hobbes (1588-1679), Bentham (17481832), Austin (1790-1859) and Professor HLA Hart (1907-1992). The main feature of legal positivism is its insistence that the law of a society be identified purely by ‘social facts’ and that one does not need a moral argument to work out the content of the law – what the modern legal positivist, Professor Raz, calls ‘the sources thesis’. The legal positivist does not deny that law is very often influenced by morality, or even that there may be necessary connections between law and morality; therefore, the traditional division and conflict in the presentation of jurisprudence between ‘natural lawyers’ and ‘legal positivists’ can be seen to be a false and misleading distinction. The questions in the chapter include definitions of legal positivism, discussion of the ‘command theory’ of law, Professor Hart’s restatement of legal positivism and the attack on the doctrine of legal positivism from Professor Ronald Dworkin.