Legal Theory 4 (4):427-467 (1998)

Stephen R. Perry
University of Pennsylvania
To understand H.L.A. Hart's general theory of law, it is helpful to distinguish between substantive and methodological legal positivism. Substantive legal positivism is the view that there is no necessary connection between morality and the content of law. Methodological legal positivism is the view that legal theory can and should offer a normatively neutral description of a particular social phenomenon, namely law. Methodological positivism holds, we might say, not that there is no necessary connection between morality and law, but rather that there is no connection, necessary or otherwise, between morality and legal theory. The respective claims of substantive and methodological positivism are, at least on the surface, logically independent. Hobbes and Bentham employed normative methodologies to defend versions of substantive positivism, and in modern times Michael Moore has developed what can be regarded as a variant of methodological positivism to defend a theory of natural law.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1017/S1352325200001105
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 65,579
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Authority, Law and Morality.Joseph Raz - 1985 - The Monist 68 (3):295-324.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Functions in Jurisprudential Methodology.Kenneth Ehrenberg - 2013 - Philosophy Compass 8 (5):447-456.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Legal Positivism: Still Descriptive and Morally Neutral.Andrei Marmor - 2006 - Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 26 (4):683-704.
Legal Reasoning and Legal Theory Revisited.Fernando Atria - 1999 - Law and Philosophy 18 (5):537-577.
Positivism Before Hart.Fred Schauer - 2011 - Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence 24 (2):455-471.
Between Natural Law and Legal Positivism: Dworkin and Hegel on Legal Theory.Thom Brooks - 2007 - Georgia State University Law Review 23 (3):513-60.
The Anarchist Official: A Problem for Legal Positivism.Kenneth M. Ehrenberg - 2011 - Australian Journal of Legal Philosophy 36:89-112.
Human Rights and the Debate on Legal Positivism.Delamar José Volpato Dutra - 2015 - Dialogue and Universalism 25 (1):264-273.
Legal Reasoning and Legal Theory Revisited.Fernando Atria - 1999 - Law and Philosophy 18 (5):537-577.
Inclusive Legal Positivism.Wilfrid J. Waluchow - 1994 - Oxford University Press.


Added to PP index

Total views
131 ( #84,092 of 2,461,983 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
6 ( #119,213 of 2,461,983 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes