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date: 20 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores Schopenhauer’s jurisprudence in the context of his writings on law and justice. Consistent with the will-and-representation dualism in the grounding of his overall approach to philosophy, Schopenhauer’s analyses of law and justice are quite separate from each other and decidedly dualist. Schopenhauer sees law as operating at the level of the world as representation; it simply regulates behavior for the common good. Consequently, his theory of law fits nicely within the philosophy of pragmatism that has lately become influential in some contemporary schools of jurisprudence. Schopenhauer sees justice as operating at the level of the world as will, the deep-down level of true reality that is all but foreclosed to our perceptions. In exploring the concept of justice, Schopenhauer sees what he refers to as “eternal justice” as being at the heart of the Problem of Evil that has beset philosophers and theologians for centuries. But he sees the virtue of justice, built on understandings of human solidarity that flow from the deep-down level of true reality, as the cure. His theory of justice thereby fits nicely within the idealist and communitarian philosophies that have lately become influential in some contemporary schools of jurisprudence.

Keywords: Schopenhauer, law, jurisprudence, eternal justice, communitarianism, public-choice theory, pragmatism

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