Article Title

Totem, Taboo and the Concept of Law: Myth in Hart and Freud

Publication Title

Washington University Jurisprudence Review


This Article proceeds as follows. First, I recount Hart’s myth of Rex as he presents it in The Concept of Law. I then visit Freud’s Totem and Taboo, both in its original form and as reinterpreted by Lacan and Žižek, and show the striking similarities. I then consider both why Hart feels that his tale helps to elucidate the concept of law, and why Lacan believes that we are drawn to tell such stories about the birth of law. Finally, I will review Hart’s other myth—the myth of a primitive society governed by unruly recognition of the primary rules of behavior—and how this separate myth relates to the myth of Moses and Monotheism.