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Positive Law
& Thomas Hobbes
Alyssa Battoia
Positive law is defined
as law that is written
down or codified.
Who is Thomas Hobbes
Born in 1588
Teacher and philosopher
Thomas Aquinas and Hans Kelsen were also
philosophers who studied positive law
“Men in a state of nature, that is a
state without civil government, are in
a war of all against all in which life is
hardly worth living. The way out of
this desperate state is to make a
social contract and establish the
state to keep peace and order.”
Theories of Law
The law that human courts practice is
positive law
 Certain source and certain content
 Legislation, custom, precedents, and
equity
 Courts enforce only the rules that are laid
down by the supreme authority within a
political community

Law  justice  morality
 “A law is just a rule of civil conduct
prescribed by the supreme power in a
state commanding what is right and
prohibiting what is wrong”
 Just because a law is enforced by the
court does not mean that it is consistent
with the demands of justice
 Law plays a role in regulating human
conduct different from personal morlals

For Example…
Personal moral law tells most of us not to
steal, period. However, the theory of
positive law states that it must be
specified what counts as personal
property, and what counts as actually
stealing, and to make clear what the
specific punishments are, for that will
usually deter a person from committing an
act
Strengths

Shows the importance of having laws
written down and specified

Functions and theories of natural law are
too general and have too many conflicting
interpretations
Weaknesses

Positive law can not be compared with
moral code

Contrasts to common and natural law

Positive=deliberately laid down, imposed
or enacted
Positive=lacking moral foce