Eugen Ehrlich and Leon Petrażycki: Are Emotions a Viable Criterion to Distinguish Between Law and Morality?

  • Mikhail Antonov
Part of the Law and Philosophy Library book series (LAPS, volume 125)


This paper considers the ways in which Leon Petrażycki and Eugen Ehrlich employed the psychological notion of emotions in defining the law. Both scholars defined the law by referring to special kinds of emotions: bilateral emotions in Petrażycki’s conception and repulsive emotions of experiencing the wrong behavior of other people, according to Ehrlich’s legal sociology. On the basis of a comparison between the theories of Petrażycki and Ehrlich, the author asserts that both theories hinge on similar methodologies and philosophies. This approach has evident affinities with the conception of law developed by Axel Hägerström and other Scandinavian realists. This analysis suggests a parallel in the development of the realist, sociological and psychological approaches to the law in the first decades of the twentieth century, uncovering certain trends in legal scholarship that underpinned this development.


  1. Adams WA (2017) Popular culture and legal pluralism. Narrative as law. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  2. Antonov M (2011) History of Schism: the debates between Hans Kelsen and Eugen Ehrlich. Int J Constit Law 5(1):5–21Google Scholar
  3. Bongiovanni G (2016) Legal positivism in the first half of the 20th century. In: Pattaro E, Roversi C (eds) A treatise of legal philosophy and general jurisprudence. Volume 12: legal philosophy in the twentieth century: the civil law world. Springer, New York, pp 1251–1305Google Scholar
  4. Brinkmann S (2011) Psychology as a moral science. Perspectives on normativity. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  5. Cotterrell R (2006a) Community as a legal concept? Some uses of law-and-community approach in legal theory. NoFo 2:15–26Google Scholar
  6. Cotterrell R (2006b) Law, culture and society: legal ideas in the mirror of social theory. Ashgate, AldershotGoogle Scholar
  7. Cotterrell R (2015) Leon Petrażycki and contemporary socio-legal studies. Int J Law Context 11(1):1–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dyevre A (2014) Law and the evolutionary turn: the relevance of evolutionary psychology for legal positivism. Ratio Juris 27:364–386CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Ehrlich E (1936, first published in 1913) Fundamental principles of the sociology of law. Harvard University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  10. Fittipaldi E (2012) Everyday legal ontology. A psychological and linguistic investigation within the framework of Leon Petrażycki’s theory of law. LED, MilanGoogle Scholar
  11. Griffiths A (2009) Anthropological perspectives on legal pluralism and governance in a transnational world. In: Freeman M, Napier D (eds) Law and anthropology: current legal issues, vol 12. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 164–186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Halpérin JL (2012) Law in books and law in action: the problem of legal change. Maine Law Rev 64(1)Google Scholar
  13. Hart HLA (1961) The concept of law. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  14. Hunt A (1978) Max Weber’s sociology of law. In: Hunt A (ed) The sociological movement in law. Palgrave Macmillan, London, pp 93–133CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Leiter B (2007) Legal Realism and legal positivism reconsidered. In: Leiter B (ed) Naturalizing jurisprudence: Essays on American legal realism and naturalism in legal philosophy. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  16. Petrażycki L (1897) Vvedenie v nauku politiki prav. Univesitetskie issledovaniiaGoogle Scholar
  17. Podgorecki A (1980–1981) Unrecognized father of sociology of law: Leon Petrażycki: reflections based on Jan Gorecki’s sociology and jurisprudence of Leon Petrażycki. Law Soc Rev 15(1):183–202CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Priel D (2015) Toward classical legal positivism. Virginia Law Rev 101:987–1022Google Scholar
  19. Shaskolsky-Sheleff L (2000) The future of tradition: customary law, common law, and legal pluralism. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  20. Taekema S, van Klink B, de Been W (eds) (2016) Facts and norms in law: interdisciplinary reflections on legal method. Edward Elgar, CheltenhamGoogle Scholar
  21. Trevino JA (1998) Toward a general theoretical-methodological framework for the sociology of law: another look at the Eastern European Pioneers. In: Ulmer J (ed) Sociology of crime, law and deviance. JAI Press, Greenwich, pp 155–202Google Scholar
  22. Twining W (2010) Normative and legal pluralism: a global perspective. Duke J Comp Int Law 20:473–518Google Scholar
  23. Van Hoecke M (ed) (2011) Methodologies of legal research. Which kind of method for which kind of discipline? Hart, OxfordGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mikhail Antonov
    • 1
  1. 1.National Research University “Higher School of Economics”St. PetersburgRussia

Personalised recommendations