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H.L.A. Hart; John Austin; Jurisprudence; Normativity


In this essay I argue that in some sense legal philosophy, at least as the term is now understood among analytic jurisprudence in the Anglophone world, is to a large extent a creation of H.L.A. Hart. It is with him that the search for the concept of nature of law has been established as an independent object of inquiry that consciously tried to avoid moral or political questions. In framing the province of jurisprudence in this way Hart not only depart from the work of Thomas Hobbes and Jeremy Bentham, whose political commitments are well-known, but also from the seemingly much closer enterprise of John Austin. After demonstrating the difference between Austin's work and Hart's I criticize the direction legal philosophy has taken following Hart's lead.