Getting Real or Staying Positive? Legal Realism(s), Legal Positivism, and the Prospects of Naturalism in Jurisprudence

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The relationship between Legal Realism and Legal Positivism has been a recurrent source of debate. The question has been further complicated by the related difficulty of assessing the internal relationship between the two main original strands of Legal Realism: American and Scandinavian. This paper suggests considering American and Scandinavian Realism as instantiations of forward-looking and backward-looking rule skepticism respectively. This distinction brings into sharp relief not only the fundamentally different relationship between each of these two Realist schools and Legal Positivism but also their equally different potentials as starting points for naturalizing jurisprudence.
Original languageEnglish
JournalRatio Juris
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)535-555
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016
EventNew Frontiers of Legal Realism: American, Scandinavian, European, Global - Copenhagen
Duration: 29 May 201230 May 2012


ConferenceNew Frontiers of Legal Realism: American, Scandinavian, European, Global

Bibliographical note

Accepted for publication in 2015

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Law - Legal realism, legal positivism, American legal realism, Scandinavian legal realism, Alf Ross, Brian Leiter, naturalism

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