Department of Legal Philosophy

About the Department:

The study of legal philosophy shows us that the approach of the classics, especially that of the medieval lawyers proves to be a good basis, if we complement it with our contemporary knowledge. The central idea of this approach, which can be called 'ontological realism', is that the interpersonal reality, rightly and justly arranged according to the order of things, ought to permeate the jurists' way of thinking. It is with regard to these elements of reality that the lawyer has to express and protect the relations of justice and equity inherent in human relations, translating them into norms and legal institutions. The dialectical logic of the classics, starting from the nature of things, introduced interpersonal argumentation into the field of practical philosophy dominated by the logic of the 'probably true', and Saint Thomas Aquinas made human nature the foundation of practical philosophy, that is, argumentation based on the natural law. Following Aquinas, we can assert that the truths of that nature, i.e. certain fundamental rights (such as the right to life and human dignity or the right to be a legal subject) and institutions (like marriage and family) originating in human nature circumscribe the 'probably true' area of dialectical argumentation, serving as criteria of legal validity.

The course 'Legal Theory 1' offers a survey of the history of legal thought through the presentation of its main thinkers and questions. It does not endeavour to establish a pantheon in the strict sense; instead, it aims to discuss the history of legal thought in a new way, focusing on the chief legal philosophers and problems. The subject deals with numerous new legal topics and explores the ideas of key legal philosophers previously not analysed in Hungarian legal philosophy.

The course 'Legal Theory 2' treats the fundamental elements and problems of legal philosophy within a unified conceptual framework. Above all, it discusses the essence of law and its relation to justice, legal validity, the distinction between binding force, coercive force and violence, and the relationship and differences between law and morality. The emphasis is on grounding fundamental human rights and natural law institutions (marriage and family). The notion of legal argumentation, its possibilities and limits of application are also expounded within this theoretical framework. In this way, legal philosophy recovers its traditional, jusnaturalistic meaning and content, and thereby essential legal concepts, questions and institutions almost completely abandoned by contemporary legal theory regain their importance.

Course material for 'Theory of State' has been developed for one and a half decade in our Department. As a result, the comprehensive discussion of historical and conceptual questions concerning the state demonstrates a remarkable theoretical richness and complexity.

The compulsory elective courses, such as 'Legal Sociology', 'Natural Law', 'Political Science' and 'Comparative Legal Cultures' offer indispensable knowledge for an educated lawyer.

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