Underhill Moore's Legal Science: Its Nature and Significance, 59 Yale Law Journal 196 (1950)
THE legal science of Underhill Moore was the product of the two
major movements of moder legal thought: legal realism and sociological
jurisprudence. It demonstrates both the strength and the limitations
of these two legal theories. His work had this somewhat paradoxical
character because he substituted scientifically exact methods and
deeds for the vivid but unverifiable, pseudo-descriptive prose in which
these two movements had all too often been previously expressed.
When this was done the actual capability of a legal science grounded in
a realistic application of scientific methods to social and legal facts was
revealed to be quite different from what many earlier proponents had
claimed. Consequently, more than anyone else Underhill Moore
demonstrated precisely what legal realism and sociological jurisprudence
as traditionally conceived can and cannot do. And for this reason
his work probably marks not merely the culmination of the jurisprudence
of the recent past but also a turning point in legal science generally.
It is as important, therefore, as a clue to the legal science of the
immediate future as it is to an estimation of the remarkable original
contributions of Underhill Moore to legal and social science that we
become clear about the aim, the method and the results of the unique
sociology of law which he created and applied.
Date of Authorship for this Version
legal realism, sociological jurisprudence
Northrop, F. S. C., "Underhill Moore's Legal Science: Its Nature and Significance" (1950). Faculty Scholarship Series. Paper 4375.