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Law is a practical science. It does not ordinarily dwell on fundamental questions about the social, political, and economic functions of the legal order. Satisfied with implicit working assumptions about these matters, legal thought moves rapidly to more tractable questions. But when law's solutions to social problems fail to satisfy, it becomes necessary to examine the basic theory from which they derive. This is such an era. In a time when men speak casually of a crisis of law, and ask "is law dead?" it is clear that law's role in society has become problematic. Such an age demands a social theory of law.

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