Single Idea 7573

[catalogued under 25. Social Practice / D. Justice / 2. The Law / d. Legal positivism]

Full Idea

Hobbes was one of the first to propose the view known as 'legal positivism' - that the criterion for deciding whether a rule is a genuine law is entirely formal or procedural

Gist of Idea

The legal positivism of Hobbes said law is just formal or procedural


report of Thomas Hobbes (Leviathan [1651]) by Nicholas Jolley - Leibniz Ch.7

Book Reference

Jolley,Nicholas: 'Leibniz' [Routledge 2005], p.195

A Reaction

This was opposed to the tradition of natural law, deriving from Aquinas. It is part of a picture of values draining out of the world as science comes to dominate. The is/ought distinction is its culmination. Power replaces virtue, and Thrasymachus wins.