Skip to main content

30% Off New Releases: Explore the List

Harvard University Press - home
Legalism

Legalism

Law, Morals, and Political Trials

Judith N. Shklar

ISBN 9780674523517

Publication date: 06/18/1986

Legalism deals with the area between political theory and jurisprudence. Its aim is to bridge the intellectual gulf separating jurisprudence from other kinds of social theory by explaining why, in the view of historians and political theorists, legalism has fallen short in its approach to both morals and politics. Judith Shklar proposes that, instead of regarding law as a discrete entity resting upon a rigid system of definitions, legal theorists should treat it, along with morals and politics, as part of an all-inclusive social continuum.

The first part of the book examines law and morals and criticizes the approach to morals of both the analytical positivists and the natural law theorists. The second part, on law and politics, deals with legalism as a political ideology that comes into conflict with other policies, particularly during political trials.

Incisively and stylishly written, the book constitutes an open challenge to reconsider the fundamental question of the relationship of law to society.

Praise

  • An excellent study… [Shklar] presents a skillful analysis and criticism of what legal scholar-philosophers…have written… Provocative—due to the author’s directness, confidence, and clarity—for she offers more intellectual excitement than can be found in textbooks on jurisprudence.

    —American Political Science Review

Author

  • Judith Shklar was John Cowles Professor of Government at Harvard University and a MacArthur Fellow.

Book Details

  • 264 pages
  • 5-1/2 x 8-3/8 inches
  • Harvard University Press

From this author

Recommendations