Philosophy

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Hägerström's Philosophy of Law

John Passmorea1

a1 Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.

In what it will be convenient to call “the Scandinavian school”; of jurisprudence, Hagerstrom is clearly the master. But his leadership is of a somewhat special kind. For all that he wrote a large book on Roman law, Hägerström was trained as, and continued to be, a philosopher, not a jurisprudentialist or a sociologist. His essays on law and morals are ancillary to his main purpose: to destroy transcendental metaphysics. The epigraphhe chose tohead his contribution to Die Philosophic der Gegenwart in Selbstdarstellungen was uncom-promising: “Praeterea censeo metaphysicam esse delendam.” If, in his published work, he to so considerable a degree concentrated his attention on ethics and jurisprudence, that is because he took them to be a particularly rich source of metaphysical mystery-mongering. Through a study of men's moral and legal ideas, Hägerström thought he could bring out the sources, the defects—and even, in a way, the strength—of metaphysical thinking.