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A Humanist Science$
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Philip Selznick

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780804758628

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804758628.001.0001

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Law and Justice

Law and Justice

Chapter:
(p.105) 9 Law and Justice
Source:
A Humanist Science
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804758628.003.0009

This chapter examines the social science of law and justice, noting that jurisprudence studies the sources of law and the variable authority of legal precepts. It considers the rule of law, legal orders, law in action, and natural law. Legal orders are seen as integral, many-faceted parts of the social landscape, calling for systematic study of the conditions that affect legal forms, procedures, and ideals. Law “in action” refers to official behavior as it responds to the ambient contexts, which affect those who make, interpret, and enforce the law. The chapter argues that a humanist science of justice combines description and evaluation. Descriptive facts tell us when and how ideals are realized or imperiled; normative inquiry clarifies ideals and explores their connections to each other and to more fundamental principles. Meanwhile, a natural-law jurisprudence relies on inquiry and argument, not on unquestioned authority.

Keywords:   rule of law, natural law, jurisprudence, law in action, humanist science, legal orders

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