Intercultural Human Rights Law Review

First Page



In what follows, I first introduce what I take to be the two foundational insights of Policy-Oriented Jurisprudence, to wit: that law is a means that should be defined and studied from the perspective of the political superior or sovereign as inherently a type of decision made in social context that is ideally someone's creative and rational choice. Second, I introduce New Haven's distinction between theories of law and theories about law as framing its assessment of alternative legal theories, including Natural Law. Third, I explore Lasswell's and McDougal's attitude toward Natural Law, as well as the sources from which they derived their understanding of the tradition. Fourth, I describe New Haven's critical assessment of Natural Law. In doing so, I consider Lasswell's and McDougal's determination that Natural Law lacks the intellectual tasks necessary for a rational jurisprudence, as well as engage with some of the challenges posed by the latter to New Haven. Lastly, I offer some concluding observations on the most salient areas of agreement between the two Schools of jurisprudence.