Previous religious and other ethical consideration were allowed to play a decisive role in the jurisprudential analysis. Hägerström’s efforts in this perspective contributed to the separation of legal science from religion, morals, and other competing normative discourses. The ideas of Axel Hägerström eventually became fundamental to the so-called Uppsala School of jurisprudence, a.k.a. Scandinavian Legal Realism, which is Sweden’s most well-known contribution to legal theory.

In his doctoral thesis A Call for Scientific Purity: Axel Hägerström’s Critique of Legal Science Max Lyles analyses and portrays Hägerström’s theories of law, jurisprudence, and legal science from a historical perspective, that of the history of law and jurisprudence, as well as a philosophical perspective.

The results of this systematic analysis is that earlier research, which have either emphasized Hägerström’s sociological impulses or criticized the political implications of Hägerström’s legal theory, must be called in questioned. Contrary to such analyses, Max Lyles emphasizes Hägerström’s contributions and achievements as a scientific theoretician, especially his critique of legal metaphysics and natural law theory, thereby placing him in the positivistic tradition of legal theory. For, despite Hägerström’s critique of legal science in general, and legal positivism in particular, he did not reject or dismiss them out of hand as sciences, if anything he wished to strengthen their scientific validity and character by either or both the introduction and application of a non-metaphysic theory of law.

Max Lyles, LL.D., is affiliated to the Stockholm University Faculty of Law. The disputation act was on the 27th of January 2006. Docent, LL.D., Heikki Pihlajamäki of the University of Helsinki acted as faculty opponent.

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Max Lyles can be reached by phone, +46-8-674 70 39, or email,

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