An Introduction to the Philosophy of Law by Roscoe Pound

An Introduction to the Philosophy of Law by Roscoe Pound

Author:Roscoe Pound [Pound, Roscoe]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Published: 2010-04-27T16:00:00+00:00

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Economic life of the individual in society, as we know it, involves four claims. One is a claim to the control of certain corporeal things, the natural media on which human existence depends. Another is a claim to freedom of industry and contract as an individual asset, apart from free exercise of one's powers as a phase of personality, since in a highly organized society the general existence may depend to a large extent upon individual labor in specialized occupations, and the power to labor freely at one's chosen occupation may be one's chief asset. Third, there is a claim to promised advantages, to promised performances of pecuniary value by others, since in a complex economic organization with minute division of labor and enterprises extending over long periods, credit more and more replaces corporeal wealth as the medium of exchange and agency of commercial activity. Fourth, there is a claim to be secured against interference by outsiders with economically advantageous relations with others, whether contractual, social, business, official or domestic. For not only do various relations which have an economic value involve claims against the other party to the relation, which one may demand that the law secure, but they also involve claims against the world at large that these advantageous relations, which form an important part of the substance of the individual, shall not be interfered with. Legal recognition of these individual claims, legal delimitation and securing of individual interests of substance is at the foundation of our economic organization of society. In civilized society men must be able to assume that they may control, for purposes beneficial to themselves, what they have discovered and appropriated to their own use, what they have created by their own labor and what they have acquired under the existing social and economic order. This is a jural postulate of civilized society as we know it. The law of property in the widest sense, including incorporeal property and the growing doctrines as to protection of economically advantageous relations, gives effect to the social want or demand formulated in this postulate. So also does the law of contract in an economic order based upon credit. A social interest in the security of acquisitions and a social interest in the security of transactions are the forms of the interest in the general security which give the law most to do. The general safety, peace and order and the general health are secured for the most part by police and administrative agencies. Property and contract, security of acquisitions and security of transactions are the domain in which law is most effective and is chiefly invoked. Hence property and contract are the two subjects about which philosophy of law has had the most to say.

In the law of liability, both for injuries and for undertakings, philosophical theories have had much influence in shaping the actual law. If they have grown out of attempts to understand and explain existing legal precepts, yet they have furnished a


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