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On the History of the Idea of Law


  • Date Published: November 2008
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521090902

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About the Authors
  • On the History of the Idea of Law is the first book ever to trace the development of the philosophical theory of law from its first appearance in Plato's writings to today. Professor Letwin finds important and positive insights and tensions in the theories of Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, and Hobbes. She finds confusions and serious errors introduced by Cicero, Aquinas, Bentham, and Marx. She harnesses the insights of H. L. A. Hart and especially Michael Oakeshott to mount a devastating attack on the late twentieth-century theories of Ronald Dworkin, the Critical Legal Studies movement, and feminist jurisprudence. In all of this, Professor Letwin finds the rule of law to be the key to modern liberty and the standard of justice. This is the final work of the distinguished historian and theorist Shirley Robin Letwin, a major figure in the revival of Conservative thought and doctrine from 1960 onwards, who died in 1993.

    • The final work of a major conservative thinker of the late twentieth century
    • A unique and highly reader-friendly overview of the development of western legal philosophy
    • Author with a major Translatlantic reputation, with strong links to both Chicago and the LSE
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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2008
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521090902
    • length: 364 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 21 mm
    • weight: 0.53kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Editor's preface
    Part I. Law Anchored to a Cosmic Order:
    1. Plato
    2. Aristotle
    3. Cicero
    Part II. The Christian Revision:
    4. St Augustine
    5. St Thomas Aquinas
    Part III. The Modern Quest:
    6. Thomas Hobbes
    7. John Locke
    8. Immanuel Kent
    9. Jeremy Bentham
    Part IV. The Significance of Rules:
    10. From historical jurisprudence to realism
    11. The Defence of Rules
    Part V. The Idea of Law Repudiated:
    12. Marxist Theories
    13. Political jurisprudence 1
    14. Political jurisprudence 2
    Part VI. New Foundations:
    15. A skeptical jurisprudence
    16. Postscript

  • Author

    Shirley Robin Letwin
    Born 1924, died 1993. A student of F. A Hayek, Shirley Robin Letwin taught at Chicago, Brandeis, Radcliffe, Cambridge and the LSE, but for most of her life was an independent scholar, and a major influence in the revival of Conservative doctrine 1960–1992.

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