Contemporary German Legal Philosophy

Contemporary German Legal Philosophy

Contemporary German Legal Philosophy

Contemporary German Legal Philosophy

Excerpt

This book describes the current varieties of German jurisprudential thought for an audience of scholars in law and related disciplines. Jurisprudential writing in the United States has been on the upswing for the past dozen years or so, and articles on legal philosophy have again achieved respectability with the law reviews. However, American legal scholars are traditionally somewhat provincial. For historical reasons we tend to read only what is written in the Anglo-American tradition and to write in that tradition as well, ignoring ideas from foreign traditions -- French, German, Italian, Japanese, or other -- that only occasionally filter into our framework of thinking. These overlooked ideas are often fertile and productive; so, a better look is due: hence this book.

My impressionistic estimate is that substantially more legal philosophy is being written in German-speaking countries than in the United States. This phenomenon is not surprising when one considers the two philosophical and legal traditions. The abundance of scholarship published in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland requires some sorting out among various "schools" of thought. Consequently, in view of the purpose of this book, I have concentrated on those philosophies that meet three criteria: (1) they are not widely publicized among legal scholars in the United States (although some are familiar to philosophers and sociologists); (2) they have intellectual connections with contemporary developments in other disciplines; and (3) they are characteristically German. Applying these criteria turned out to be difficult. Therefore, in chapter two I give thumbnail sketches of views which do not as clearly meet the criteria as do those discussed in chapters three through seven. The bibliographical essay guides readers who wish to pursue the thinking of particular authors.

What the Germans usually call Staatstheorie or Staatslehre and what we usually denominate political theory have been purposely excluded. Obviously political theory often blends imperceptably into legal philosophy . . .

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