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An account of successive legal theories in England and America against a background of the varieties of natural law in the ancient, medieval and modern worlds. The outcome in Legal Realism provides insight into contemporary issues in law and the judicial process and their relation to moral philosophy.
As Levy shows, legal theory has always been inspired by forces outside the law in philosophy and politics. In England the philosophy of Utilitarianism as expounded by Bentham and Austin brought legal positivism into prominence as an alternative to natural law. In the United States the philosophy of pragmatism spearheaded by James and Dewey and shared by Justice Holmes gave the functional turn resulting in the movement of Legal Realism. After sketching the background of varieties of natural law in the ancient, medieval, and modern worlds, Levy presents leading figures and trends in England and the United States.
The book is written so as to be intelligible to lawyers, philosophers, and students of cultural history and social science.