legal positivism,n. The theory that legal rules are valid only because they are enacted by an existing political authority or accepted as binding in a given society, not because they are grounded in morality or in natural law. • Legal positivism has been espoused by such scholars as H.L.A. Hart. See POSITIVE LAW. Cf. LOGICAL POSITIVISM. — legal positivist,n.
“[I]t will be helpful to offer some comparisons between legal positivism and its counterpart in science. Scientific positivism condemns any inquiry projecting itself beyond observable phenomena; it abjures metaphysics, it renounces in advance any explanation in terms of ultimate causes. Its program of research is to chart the regularities discernible in the phenomena of nature at the point where they become open to human observation, without asking — as it were — how they got there. In the setting of limits to inquiry there is an obvious parallel between scientific and legal positivism. The legal positivist concentrates his attention on law at the point where it emerges from the institutional processes that brought it into being. It is the finally made law itself that furnishes the subject of his inquiries. How it was made and what directions of human effort went into its creation are for him irrelevancies.” Lon L. Fuller, Anatomy of the Law 177–78 (1968).
[Blacks Law 8th]