Jusletter IT

Legal positivism: a self-effacing theory

  • Autor/Autorin: José de Sousa e Brito
  • Kategorie: Kurzbeiträge
  • Region: Portugal
  • Rechtsgebiete: Rechtstheorie
  • Sammlung: Q-Justice 2011
  • Zitiervorschlag: José de Sousa e Brito, Legal positivism: a self-effacing theory, in: Jusletter IT 29. Juni 2011
Legal positivism should be defined by the two theses of the conceptual separation of law and morals and of the social sources of law, the second implying the first. The separation thesis stays and falls with the social sources thesis. According to inclusive legal positivism in a rule of law state the validity of a law may depend on its compatibility with critical morality or ethics. Ethics may be critical of a law, despite all social facts relevant to the validity of such a law. In such a case legal positivism must retire the social sources thesis, because of the way the law is socially understood as ethically justified. So legal positivism remains coherent. It is not self-defeated, but in this case it is self-effacing.


  • 1. Definition of legal positivism
  • 2. The thesis of the conceptual separation of law and morals.
  • 3. The thesis of the social sources of law

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