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AC Grayling surveys the essential literature from Aquinas to HLA Hart

By AC Grayling   October 1996

A law of nature is not a law in the normal sense of the word, but a generalisation about observed regularities. The laws governing the activities of people in societies, and attributed to the authorship of gods, kings or parliaments, are in some way stipulative or imperative. But in what way? What is law, and what justifies it?

Philosophical debate about the nature of law is called “jurisprudence,” and most discussions of it begin with John Austin and his The Province of Jurisprudence Determined (1832). He defined law as a command given by a sovereign and enforced by a sanction,…

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