The object and subject of the legal science

  • Vladimir F. Popondopulo St. Petersburg State University


The article discusses the concept and content of the legal science, its subject and object. The term “subject” of the legal science refers to the principles of origin and development of legal phenomena and processes. The term“object” means social and legal phenomena and processes themselves (law and other aspects of society, including legal practice and doctrine) studied by the legal science in the process of perception of its subject. The author examines scientific approaches to the question of law understanding and the essence of law. It is noted that the answer to the question about the nature of law enables to clarify the remaining scientific picture of the legal world, to define other characteristics of law as an object of the legal science, and, moreover, principles of its origin and development as a subject of the legal science, to understand the place of law within the system of other social phenomena and processes. In this case, identification of an abstract essence of the law outside its connections with other social phenomena and processes is a methodological tool of scientific research hereinafter referred to as the method of ideal constructions. This method allows the researcher to disengage himself/herself from the circumstances existing in reality and imagine hypothetical consequences of absence of these circumstances, external to the law, to understand the meaning of their existence, to comprehend the category of law in its essence as an object of a scientific study. The author criticizes the definitions of the law essence through the factors, external to a person as a right holder (theory of the positive law, theory of the natural law and the like). The essence of law is determined from willful engaged actions of individuals themselves, as a result of their typified actual interaction expressed in the relevant rules of conduct recognized in the society and therefore generally binding (activity-based, communication theories of law).


legal science, object of the legal science, subject of the legal science, essence of law, principles of law


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Author Biography

Vladimir F. Popondopulo, St. Petersburg State University

doctor of legal sciences, professor, head of the Department of Commercial Law; honoured scientist of the Russian Federation


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How to Cite
Popondopulo, V. F. (2016). The object and subject of the legal science. Pravovedenie, 60(5), 68-85. Retrieved from
Concept of law