From Positivism to Idealism: A Study of the Moral Dimensions of Legality

Examining the emergence and development of legal positivism as a distinctive and particularly powerful tradition in legal thought, this book places particular emphasis on its relationship to traditional understandings of the common law and on forms of idealism. The focus throughout is on the consequences positivism holds for the idea of the rule of law and of law's role in maintaining (and perhaps creating) conditions of stable social order. The book examines the shifts in thinking about the rule of law and the wider significance of law, brought about by changing conceptions of the nature of law: from an understanding of law in which the primary focus is on rights, to an articulation of the legal order as a body of deliberately posited rules and, finally, to an understanding of law as a corpus of systematic rules and principles, underpinned by an abiding concern with individual rights.