Semantic Sources of the Concept of Law

  • Gerd Buchdahl
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 3)


The concept of law, despite its long ancestry, has given philosophers considerable trouble. A sign of strain has been that not infrequently it has given rise to a variety of metaphysical positions. I think that these difficulties are in part due to an insufficient grasp of the complexity of the background against which the idea of law has been formed; that there is a very tangled network of approaches differing widely from one another, belonging to quite different fields of man’s preoccupation with nature, often criss-crossing, and even colliding. As might be expected in such a case, the resulting definitions and notions do not necessarily agree; indeed, there may between them exist a positive conflict. Philosophers, in their guise as metaphysicians, try to lessen the conflict but often only achieve this at the cost of producing an air of paradox about their solutions.


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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company / Dordrecht-Holland 1967

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerd Buchdahl
    • 1
  1. 1.Cambridge UniversityUK

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