Law as a means to an end (1913) PDF book by Rudolf von Jhering

Law as a means to an end by Rudolf von Jhering, Translated by Isaac Husik.

Law as a means to an end by Rudolf von Jhering, Translated by Isaac Husik.


There are several reasons for thinking our people apt thereto. But, without delaying over the grounds for such speculations, let us recall that as shrewd and good-natured an observer as DeTocqueville saw this in us. 

He admits that "in most of the operations of the mind, each American appeals to the individual exercise of his own understanding alone; therefore in no country, in the civilized world is less attention paid to philosophy than in the United States." But, he adds, "the Americans are much more addicted to the use of general ideas than the English, and entertain a much greater relish for them." And since philosophy is, after all, only the science of general ideas — analyzing, restating, and reconstructing concrete experience — we may well trust that (if ever we do go at it with a will) we shall discover in ourselves a taste and high capacity for it, and shall direct our powers as fruitfully upon the law as we have done upon other fields. Hitherto, to be sure, our own outlook on juristic learning has been insular. 

The value of the study of comparative law has only in recent years come to be recognized by us. Our juristic methods are still primitive, in that we seek to know only by our own experience, and pay no heed to the experience of others. Our historic bond with English law alone, and our consequent lack of recognition of the universal character of law as a generic institution, have prevented any wide contact with foreign literature. 

While heedless of external help in the practical matter of legislation, we have been oblivious to the abstract nature of law. Philosophy of law has been to us almost a meaningless and alien phrase. "All philosophers are reducible in the end to two classes only: utilitarians and f utilitarians," is the cynical epigram of a great wit of modern fiction. 

And no doubt the philistines of our profession would echo this sarcasm. And yet no country and no age have ever been free
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