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A naturalistic jurisprudence? American Legal Realism and Behaviouristic Theories

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Keywords: American Legal Realism; Psychological Theories; Naturalism; Law.

This paper aims to provide an approach to American Legal Realism under the lens of its empirical claim for jurisprudence. In the framework of the "revolt against formalism" that characterizes the theoretical attitude of that period in American culture, the influence of psychological sciences plays a central role. The behaviouristic basis that influenced some of the realists has been often stressed by literature, both in criticizing their naïve approach to law and in addressing to Realism a lack of a scientific basis for their 'empirical' jurisprudence. Nevertheless, since Lon Fuller's earl interpretation, psychological behaviourism seems to be for realists more a linguistic tool than a theory, in the perspective of the relationship between legal and social order. Recently, Brian Leiter has turned to focus on this topic, arguing that the 'Core Claim' of the Realism relies in a naturalized jurisprudence. These interpretations help to consider the contribute that American Legal Realism has offered to legal theory.

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