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Theory and Context
8th Edition
ISBN:  9780414060029
Published by:  Sweet & Maxwell
Publication Date:  31 May 2019
Subscription Information:  Non-Subscribable Product
Format:  Paperback
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An excellent introduction to jurisprudence, explaining the often complex and difficult ideas in legal philosophy clearly and concisely. This book will engage readers with the fundamental themes in legal philosophy and the foremost legal theorists, and equip the reader with the tools and knowledge to delve deeper. This edition brings the discussion up-to-date, taking into account the most recent scholarly work.

  • A textbook for students of Jurisprudence, presenting the themes, theories, primary texts and protagonists in jurisprudential thinking, giving the reader a solid grounding in the subject and inspiring and enabling them to locate, read and understand the primary texts.
  • Split into 4 Parts which cover Legal Theory: Problems and Possibilities; Individual Theories About the Nature of Law; Themes and Principles; and Modern Perspectives on Legal Theory.
  • A list of “Suggested Further Readings” is offered at the end of each chapter, footnote citations to the primary texts are contained in the course of the chapters, and a full Bibliography is provided at the end of the book, for those who wish to locate longer and fuller discussions of the topics.
  • Brian H. Bix is the Frederick W. Thomas Professor of Law and Philosophy at the University of Minnesota, USA.


PART A Legal Theory: Problems and Possibilities
1. Overview, Purpose and Methodology
2. Legal Theory: General Jurisprudence and Conceptual Analysis
PART B Individual Theories About the Nature of Law
3. H.L.A. Hart and Legal Positivism
4. Hans Kelsen’s Pure Theory of Law
5. Natural Law Theory and John Finnis
6. Understanding Lon Fuller
7. Ronald Dworkin’s Interpretive Approach
PART C Themes and Principles
8. Justice
9. Punishment
10. Rights and Rights Talk
11. Will and Reason
12. Authority, Finality and Mistake
13. Common Law Reasoning and Precedent
14. Statutory Interpretation and Legislative Intentions
15. Legal Enforcement of Morality
16. The Obligation to Obey the Law
PART D Modern Perspectives on Legal Theory
17. American Legal Realism
18. Economic Analysis of Law
19. Modern Critical Perspectives
20. Law and Literature
21. Philosophical Foundations of the Common law
22. Other Approaches


"For an overview of jurisprudence that is insightful as well as clear, critical but also generous in its assessments, one can’t do better than this book.” - Robert W Gordon, Yale Law School

“Professor Bix has a genius for writing about the most difficult and frequently arcane aspects of legal theory with a remarkable lightness of touch, an assurance, an authoritativeness, and a degree of accessibility which no other writer in this area can match.” - Adam Tomkins, John Millar Professor of Public Law, University of Glasgow
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