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Lord KamesLegal and Social Theorist$
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Andreas Rahmatian

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780748676736

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748676736.001.0001

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Legal History, Legal Science and Comparative Law

Legal History, Legal Science and Comparative Law

(p.191) VI Legal History, Legal Science and Comparative Law
Lord Kames

Andreas Rahmatian

Edinburgh University Press

In this chapter Kames's concept of conjectural/theoretical or philosophical history and Kames's use of conjectural history in his legal history is explained and demonstrated with examples from Kames's texts – a method which he is said to have “invented” and which became typical of the Scottish Enlightenment in general. Differences between Kames's method and the approach of the Historical School of Law in Germany in the early nineteenth century, as well as the tensions between modern historical methods and conjectural history are discussed. Then the accuracy of Kames's presentation of historical facts and narratives in legal history is tested with a practical example from Kames's Historical Law-Tracts (1758). The second part of the chapter deals with the purpose of comparative law in Kames's thought, and with Kames's attempt to establish the study of the law as a legal science. Kames's trenchant criticism of law teaching at the universities of his day is also presented. The chapter finishes with a discussion why Kames has generally not been regarded as an Institutional Writer of Scots law.

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