March 3, 2009
Who was the most important legal philosopher of the 20th-Century
I've been having fun with (utterly unscientific and unreliable) polls on my other blogs, so here's one for this audience. Maybe we'll have a run-off, depending on the results here. Feel free to post omissions from the list below in the comments.
UPDATE (MARCH 4, 7 PM CST): Here are the results after 70 votes:
1. H.L.A. Hart (59%)
2. Joseph Raz (13%)
3. Ronald Dworkin (9%)
4. John Finnis (6%)
4. Hans Kelsen (6%)
6. None of the choices offered--someone else (4%)
7. Lon Fuller (3%)
8. Karl Llewellyn (1%)
By the way, I didn't vote for Llewellyn, I voted for Hart. Much as I enjoy Llewellyn, he's not, needless to say, a good philosopher (though not obviously worse than Fuller!). Obviously the Anglophone readership explains how Kelsen could come in behind Dworkin. I'll do another tally in a few days.
UPDATE (MARCH 7 6 PM CST): So with not quite 140 votes cast, here's my final tally:
1. H.L.A. Hart (55%)
2. Hans Kelsen (14%)
3. Joseph Raz (11%)
4. Ronald Dworkin (9%)
5. John Finnis (5%)
6. Someone not listed as a choice (3%)
7. Lon Fuller (2%)
8. Karl Llewellyn (1%)
8. Alf Ross (1%)
Congratulations to the winners! Your prize check is in the mail!
I think, the most important german legal philosopher of the 20. century is Robert Alexy (but I like analytical subtlety of Joseph Raz :).
Posted by: Tomáš Sobek | Mar 4, 2009 11:59:31 AM
There are many as good as Finnis (or Hart) in France, Germany, Italy, and a couple of them in Spain too.
Posted by: Cristobal Orrego | Mar 8, 2009 6:04:07 PM
I would add, without any doubt, Norberto Bobbio, who, among many other things, is the author of 3 fundamental books on legal theory, which should definitely be translated into English
- Il positivismo giuridico (Legal positivism) 1961
- Giusnaturalismo e positivismo giuridico (Natural Law Theories and Legal Positivism) 1965
- Teoria generale del diritto (General Theory of Law) 1958-1960
Bobbio is also the author of two essays on secondary rules, containing a very detailed critique of Hart's theory which, I think, would be very interesting for the Anglo-American readership.
And I would also add Georg Henrik Von Wright (who, despite not being a legal philosopher “stricto sensu”, has had a great impact on legal philosophy and legal logic)
And my list would accordingly be as follows:
2. A. Ross
5. Von Wright
Posted by: Giovanni B. Ratti | Mar 9, 2009 1:27:55 PM
As Professor Hart has passed on, and as I am a devoted Hartian and mention his name at least once a week, please tell me how to receive his check.
Posted by: C. Sistare | Mar 10, 2009 3:17:59 PM
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