Skip to main content
Article
From Premodern to Modern American Jurisprudence: The Onset of Positivism
Vanderbilt Law Review (1997)
  • Stephen M. Feldman, University of Wyoming
Abstract
This article explains the crucial differences between premodernism and modernism. A distinctive feature of premodernism was an abiding faith in nature or God as a stable and foundational source of meaning and value. When premodernism gave way to modernism, the commitment to foundationalism remained intact. Modernists believed that knowledge must be firmly grounded on an objective foundation. A crucial distinction between modernism and premodernism, however, lay in their respective ideas of foundations. Whereas premodernists readily accepted God and nature as foundational sources for value and knowledge, modernists rejected religious, natural, and other traditional footings and searched for some alternative foundation. In a second stage of premodernism, history became eschatological, progressing toward a goal, while the concept of premodern progress was limited. Progress was understood as a movement toward the perfect realization of the eternal and universal principles in an otherwise changing and unstable world.
Keywords
  • premodern jurisprudence,
  • modern jurisprudence,
  • jurisprudence,
  • positivism,
  • Robert W. Gordon,
  • William P. LaPiana
Disciplines
Publication Date
1997
Citation Information
Stephen M. Feldman. "From Premodern to Modern American Jurisprudence: The Onset of Positivism" Vanderbilt Law Review Vol. 50 (1997)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/stephen_m_feldman/24/