Ari Zuckerbrot

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Book Review


H.L.A. Hart opens his seminal work The Concept of Law with the observation that “[f]ew questions concerning human society have been asked with such persistence and answered by serious thinkers in so many diverse, strange, and even paradoxical ways as the question ‘What is law?’” Many of these serious thinkers have sought to determine what law is by answering the question: “Where does law come from?” Aristotle’s view of natural law holds that law originates in its connection to an eternal concept of supreme justice. John Austin, on the other hand, sought to distinguish the law from other types of coercive force by appealing to its origin in some sort of sovereign authority. More recently, law and society scholars have been similarly preoccupied with understanding the origins of law. The focus of their pursuit has been to establish an empirically informed understanding of the degree to which governmental structures and social forces outside the legal system, such as lobbying and social justice movements, influence the creation of laws and legal norms.

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