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|Minister of Justice|
26 October 1921 –14 November 1922
|Preceded by||Eugen Schiffer|
|Succeeded by||Rudolf Heinze|
13 August 1923 –23 November 1923
|Preceded by||Rudolf Heinze|
|Succeeded by||Erich Emminger|
|Born||November 21, 1878|
Lübeck, Schleswig-Holstein, Prussia
|Died||November 23, 1949 71) (aged|
|Political party||Social Democratic Party|
|Alma mater|| University of Berlin |
University of Heidelberg
|Profession||Lawyer, legal philosopher|
Gustav Radbruch (21 November 1878 – 23 November 1949) was a German legal scholar and politician. He served as Minister of Justice of Germany during the early Weimar period. Radbruch is also regarded as one of the most influential legal philosophers of the 20th century.
Born in Lübeck, Radbruch studied law in Munich, Leipzig and Berlin. He passed his first bar exam ("Staatsexamen") in Berlin in 1901, and the following year he received his doctorate with a dissertation on "The Theory of Adequate Causation". This was followed in 1903 by his qualification to teach criminal law in Heidelberg. In 1904, he was appointed Professor of criminal and trial law and legal philosophy in Heidelberg. In 1914 he accepted a call to a professorship in Königsberg, and later that year assumed a professorship at Kiel.
Radbruch was a member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), and held a seat in the Reichstag from 1920 to 1924. In 1921–22 and throughout 1923, he was minister of justice in the cabinets of Joseph Wirth and Gustav Stresemann. During his time in office, a number of important laws were implemented, such as those giving women access to the justice system, and, after the assassination of Walter Rathenau, the law for the protection of the republic.
In 1926, Radbruch accepted a renewed call to lecture at Heidelberg. After the Nazi seizure of power in January 1933, Radbruch, as a former Social Democratic politician, was dismissed from his university post under the terms of the so-called "Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service" ("Gesetz zur Wiederherstellung des Berufsbeamtentums"). (The universities, as public bodies, were subject to civil service laws and regulations.) Despite the employment ban in Nazi Germany, during 1935/36 he was able to spend a year in England, at University College, Oxford. An important practical outcome of this was his book, "Der Geist des englischen Rechts" ("The Spirit of English Law"), although this could be published only in 1945.During the Nazi period, he devoted himself primarily to cultural-historical work.
Immediately after the end of the Second World War in 1945, he resumed his teaching activities, but died at Heidelberg in 1949 without being able to complete his planned updated edition of his textbook on legal philosophy.
In September 1945, Radbruch published a short paper Fünf Minuten Rechtsphilosophie (Five Minutes of Legal Philosophy), that was influential in shaping the jurisprudence of values (Wertungsjurisprudenz), prevalent in the aftermath of World War II as a reaction against legal positivism.
Radbruch's legal philosophy derived from Neokantianism, which assumes that a categorical cleavage exists between "is" (sein) and "ought" (sollen). According to this view, "should" can never be derived from "Being." Indicative of the Heidelberg school of neokantianism to which Radbruch subscribed was that it interpolated the value-related cultural studies between the explanatory sciences (being) and philosophical teachings of values (should).
In relation to the law, this triadism shows itself in the subfields of legal sociology, legal philosophy and legal dogma. Legal dogma assumes a place in between. It posits itself in opposition to positive law, as the latter depicts itself in social reality and methodologically in the objective "should-have" sense of law, which reveals itself through value-related interpretation.
The core of Radbruch's legal philosophy consists of his tenets the concept of law and the idea of law. The idea of law is defined through a triad of justice, utility and certainty. Radbruch thereby had the idea of utility or usefulness spring forth from an analysis of the idea of justice. Upon this notion was based the Radbruch formula, which is still vigorously debated today. The concept of law, for Radbruch, is "nothing other than the given fact, which has the sense to serve the idea of law."
Hotly disputed is the question whether Radbruch was a legal positivist before 1933 and executed an about-face in his thinking due to the advent of Nazism, or whether he continued to develop, under the impression of Nazi crimes, the relativistic values-teaching he had already been advocating before 1933.
The problem of the controversy between the spirit and the letter of the law, in Germany, has been brought back to public attention due to the trials of former East German soldiers who guarded the Berlin Wall—the so-called necessity of following orders. Radbruch's theories are posited against the positivist "pure legal tenets" represented by Hans Kelsen and, to some extent, also from Georg Jellinek.
In sum, Radbruch's formula argues that where statutory law is incompatible with the requirements of justice "to an intolerable degree", or where statutory law was obviously designed in a way that deliberately negates "the equality that is the core of all justice", statutory law must be disregarded by a judge in favour of the justice principle. Since its first publication in 1946 the principle has been accepted by Germany's Federal Constitutional Court in a variety of cases. Many people partially blame the older German legal tradition of legal positivism for the ease with which Hitler obtained power in an outwardly "legal" manner, rather than by means of a coup. Arguably, the shift to a concept of natural law ought to act as a safeguard against dictatorship, an untrammeled State power and the abrogation of civil rights.
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Logical positivism, later called logical empiricism, and both of which together are also known as neopositivism, was a movement in Western philosophy whose central thesis was the verification principle. This theory of knowledge asserted that only statements verifiable through direct observation or logical proof are meaningful. Starting in the late 1920s, groups of philosophers, scientists, and mathematicians formed the Berlin Circle and the Vienna Circle, which, in these two cities, would propound the ideas of logical positivism.
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Legal positivism is a school of thought of analytical jurisprudence developed largely by legal philosophers during the 18th and 19th centuries, such as Jeremy Bentham and John Austin. While Bentham and Austin developed legal positivist theory, empiricism provided the theoretical basis for such developments to occur. The most prominent legal positivist writer in English has been H. L. A. Hart, who, in 1958, found common usages of "positivism" as applied to law to include the contentions that:
Ronald Myles Dworkin was an American philosopher, jurist, and scholar of United States constitutional law. At the time of his death, he was Frank Henry Sommer Professor of Law and Philosophy at New York University and Professor of Jurisprudence at University College London. Dworkin had taught previously at Yale Law School and the University of Oxford, where he was the Professor of Jurisprudence, successor to renowned philosopher H. L. A. Hart. An influential contributor to both philosophy of law and political philosophy, Dworkin received the 2007 Holberg International Memorial Prize in the Humanities for "his pioneering scholarly work" of "worldwide impact." According to a survey in The Journal of Legal Studies, Dworkin was the second most-cited American legal scholar of the twentieth century. After his death, the Harvard legal scholar Cass Sunstein said Dworkin was "one of the most important legal philosophers of the last 100 years. He may well head the list."
Lon Luvois Fuller was a noted legal philosopher, who criticized legal positivism and defended a secular and procedural form of natural law theory. Fuller was a professor of Law at Harvard University for many years, and is noted in American law for his contributions to both jurisprudence and the law of contracts. His debate in 1958 with the prominent British legal philosopher H. L. A. Hart in the Harvard Law Review was important in framing the modern conflict between legal positivism and natural law theory. In his widely discussed 1964 book, The Morality of Law, Fuller argues that all systems of law contain an "internal morality" that imposes on individuals a presumptive obligation of obedience. Robert S. Summers said in 1984: "Fuller was one of the four most important American legal theorists of the last hundred years".
Hans Kelsen was an Austrian jurist, legal philosopher and political philosopher. He was the author of the 1920 Austrian Constitution, which to a very large degree is still valid today. Due to the rise of totalitarianism in Austria, Kelsen left for Germany in 1930 but was forced to leave this university post after Hitler's seizure of power in 1933 because of his Jewish ancestry. That year he left for Geneva and later moved to the United States in 1940. In 1934, Roscoe Pound lauded Kelsen as "undoubtedly the leading jurist of the time." While in Vienna, Kelsen met Sigmund Freud and his circle, and wrote on the subject of social psychology and sociology.
In philosophy and models of scientific inquiry, postpositivism is a metatheoretical stance that critiques and amends positivism. While positivists emphasize independence between the researcher and the researched person, postpositivists argue that theories, hypotheses, background knowledge and values of the researcher can influence what is observed. Postpositivists pursue objectivity by recognizing the possible effects of biases. While positivists emphasize quantitative methods, postpositivists consider both quantitative and qualitative methods to be valid approaches.
Robert Alexy is a jurist and a legal philosopher.
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Julius Binder was a German philosopher of law. He is principally known as an opponent of legal positivism, and for having remained as an active scholar during the 1930s in Nazi Germany who did not speak out against the prevailing government of that time.
Hozumi Yatsuka was a Japanese scholar and lawyer.
The Hart–Fuller debate is an exchange between Lon Fuller and H. L. A. Hart published in the Harvard Law Review in 1958 on morality and law, which demonstrated the divide between the positivist and natural law philosophy. Hart took the positivist view in arguing that morality and law were separate. Fuller's reply argued for morality as the source of law's binding power.
Matthew Henry Kramer is an American philosopher, currently Professor of Legal and Political Philosophy at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge. He writes mainly in the areas of metaethics, normative ethics, legal philosophy, and political philosophy. He is a leading proponent of legal positivism. He has been Director of the Cambridge Forum for Legal and Political Philosophy since 2000. He has been teaching at Cambridge University and at Churchill College since 1994.
The Radbruch formula is a theory of law which was first formulated in a 1946 essay by the German law professor and politician Gustav Radbruch. According to the theory, a judge who encounters a conflict between a statute and what he perceives as just, has to decide against applying the statute if – and only if – the legal concept behind the statute in question seems either "unbearably injust" or in "deliberate disregard" of human equality before the law.
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Alexander Somek is an Austrian legal scholar.
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