Redrawing the Dividing Lines between Natural Law and Positivism(s)

Jeffrey Pojanowski, Notre Dame Law School


This commentary contends that Dan Priel’s symposium paper "Toward Classical Legal Positivism" demonstrates the virtues and promise of a broader conception of jurisprudence. Priel’s championing of the legal philosophies of Hobbes and Bentham points to two important distinctions in legal thought: the metaphysical divide between classical positivists and natural lawyers as well as disagreement between classical and many modern positivists about the centrality of the internal point of view of participants in a legal system. Priel’s bid to widen the gauge of jurisprudential inquiry is welcome, even if classical positivism’s externalist approach to legal philosophy leaves it incomplete.