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A Call for Scientific Purity: Axel Hägerström's Critique of Legal Science
Stockholm University, Faculty of Law, Department of Law.
Responsible organisation
2006 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The subject matter of this study forms an analysis of Axel Hägerström’s (1868-1939) theories of law and legal science - ideas that were formative both for the Uppsala School and Scandinavian Legal Realism. By means of a close analysis of Hägerström’s epistemology and ontology, the general principles of his theory of science have been outlined, especially the marked stance of anti-metaphysics (anti-subjectivism), the logical notion of reality, and the application of conceptual analyses.

In general, it is argued that Hägerström stressed the critical nature of the philosophical investigation in question, together with a proper and necessary consideration of its role in judging the formal correctness of conducted scientific analyses, rather than dwelling on material correctness.

By separating the formal study of science from material, object-related sciences, it is shown in this study how, once carried over to object-related sciences, Hägerström’s analyses result in the dismissal of a number of ideas traditionally held to be true from the scientific discourse to the ideological – for example, the ideas of objective normative values and rights and duties.

It is argued that Hägerström’s theories of law and legal science involve subjecting the fundamental principles of legal science (both natural law and legal positivism) to thorough scrutiny, resulting in several conclusions with regard to their respective scientific validities.

In the final part of this thesis (Part VII) the author contextualizes the results of Hägerström’s works by means of an historical account of the various notions of legal science that have governed Western legal thought from Roman law up until the early 20th Century.

In conclusion, it is asserted that the results of the conducted analyses of Hägerström’s theories imply the need for a reinterpretation of his ideas, and those of the Uppsala School.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Institutet för rättshistorisk forskning (The Ohlin Foundation for Legal History) , 2006. , 697 p.
Keyword [en]
Legal history, Axel Hägerström (1868-1939), Uppsala School, Scandinavian Legal Realism, philosophy, anti-metaphysics, anti-subjectivism, legal philosophy, legal science, legal positivism, legal realism, Begriffsjurisprudenz, natural law, Sweden
National Category
History
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-790ISBN: 91-85190-76-4 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-790DiVA: diva2:199245
Public defence
2006-01-27, Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 8C, Stockholm, 10:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2006-01-05 Created: 2006-01-05Bibliographically approved

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