Three lectures by the Harvard Law School professor examine legal positivism and natural law. In the course of his analysis Fuller discusses Kelsen's theory as a reactionary theory, and Hobbes' theory of sovereignty. He defines legal positivism as the viewpoint that draws a distinction "between the law that is and the law that ought to be..." (p.5) and interprets natural law as that which tolerates a combination of the two. He looks at the effects of positivism's continued influence on American legal thinking and concludes that law as a principle of order is necessary in a democracy.
"The book is a provocative one which is certain to excite much academic comment here and abroad." - Harvard Law Record
"Although fully intelligible to the undergraduate, this book is likely to receive its warmest reception form advanced students of the philosophy of law, who will welcome the relief provided from the frequently sterile tone of much recent work in the field." - Choice
In this article - one of the most frequently cited pieces to appear in the Harvard Law Review - Fuller imagined a hypothetical case of trapped explorers who drew straws to select the unlucky member of their party to be eaten. In Fuller's account, the four survivors were tried, convicted, and sentenced to hang. They appealed. Fuller included a series of opinions - ultimately upholding the sentence - that captured and satirized schools of statutory interpretation and adjudication from his era.