An Introduction to the Philosophy of Law
Roscoe Pound ranks as one of the most prominent legal scholars in the development of American jurisprudence. In An Introduction to the Philosophy of Law, he shows how philosophy has been a powerful instrument throughout the history of law. He examines what philosophy has done for some of the chief problems of the science of law and how it is possible to look at those problems philosophically without treating them in terms of a particular time period. The function of legal philosophy, writes Pound, is to rationally formulate a general theory of law which conforms to the interests, the general security first and foremost, of society.
According to Pound, philosophies of law historically have rationally adjusted legal developments to the circumstantial needs of society. Pound concerned himself primarily with the practical effects of American legal developments within the context of social interests and general security. He encouraged American jurists to abandon efforts to conform obsolete models of legal philosophy to new realities. The significance of Pound's scholarship, particularly An Introduction to the Philosophy of Law, is the legal relativism inherent therein and its ongoing impact not merely on American jurisprudence, but on the imperative that American public policy be tested in the juridical crucible of relativism.
Marshall DeRosa writes in his new introduction that in the light of twentieth-century judicial politics, Roscoe Pound's philosophy of law has prevailed to a significant extent. This book's relevance to appreciating the development of the American legal system in all its complexities--including liability law, contract law, and property law--is in itself notable. But, in terms of understanding the twentieth-century development of the American rule of law, An Introduction to the Philosophy of Law is indispensable. It will make an invaluable addition to the personal libraries of legal theorists, philosophers, political scientists, and historians of American law.