Document Type

Book Review


Book Review: Legal Philosophy from Plato to Hegel, 10 Journal of the History of Ideas 575 (1949)


Huntington Cairns has provided lawyers, judges, and laymen with a long-needed guide to the thinking of professional philosophers on the perennial problems of the law. I think it safe to say that no better in- troduction to the subject has ever been written. Indeed, the book is so good that one's chief criticism must be that there is not more of it. Thir- teen major philosophers are included-if we accept as valid our author's characterization of two literary lawyers (Cicero and Bacon) as major philosophers. A good many important philosophical figures are omitted. No attempt is-made to convey the philosophical thinking of jurists. The problem of integrating or interrelating the thirteen chosen philosophical perspectives on law is expressly put aside. What we have, then, is an ex- cellent collection of essays expounding the thoughts of thirteen philosophers on legal issues. It would be captious to criticize these essays because they do not attempt to be something else.

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philosophy of law, history