Alf Ross on the Nature of Law

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In his work, On Law and Justice, Alf Ross sought to explain law in scientific/empirical terms, in terms that would require no recourse to what he called “metaphysics” or “idealism.” The result is a sort of translation of legal rules and official actions into propositions of behavior, predictions of behavior, and shared ideology. The present work raises questions about the tensions within Ross's work(s), and discusses the places where Ross's analysis seems to fall short of its ambitions. In the course of the discussion, the article considers issues relating to legal mistake, explanations of judicial behavior, and different types of normativity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-71
Number of pages11
JournalRatio Juris
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 University of Bologna and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


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