Legal consciousness as a prerequisite for person’s lawful behavior: retrospective view, modern interpretation

Keywords: legal consciousness of a person, statics of legal consciousness, dynamics of legal consciousness, unconscious legal motivation.


The basics for legal consciousness as a prerequisite for lawful behavior of a person have been investigated. It has been noted that in today’s conditions the term “legal consciousness” is understood broadly, it covers, which is paradoxical or insufficiently correct from a critical point of view, both conscious and unconscious in the legal sphere of the inner world of man, that is, there is a need to distinguish between the concepts of “legal consciousness” and “legal subconsciousness”.

It has been noted that in the context of the logic of formation of the mechanism of internal determination of lawful behavior in the structure of legal consciousness of a person, static and dynamic parts can be conditionally distinguished. The statics of legal consciousness is embodied by legal awareness (“knowledge of law”) as a psychological basis for the conscious implementation of legal norms. The dynamic element is understood as a certain generalized internal driving force (conscious, unconscious) that leads to the objectification of lawful behavior. The dynamics of legal consciousness is embodied by the motivation of lawful behavior (“lawful motivation”). The motivation of a person’s lawful behavior should be distinguished from the psychological mechanism of the law, the mechanism of making a lawful decision by a person, the mechanism of conscious-willful lawful behavior of a person, while the motivation is not reduced to motives as a certain set (set) of them. Distinguishing between the motivation of conscious lawful behavior and the motivation of objectively lawful behavior of a person indicates the existence of such phenomena as quasi-legal consciousness, quasi-legal motivation.

It has been emphasized that a variant of debatable terminology that reflects the psychological mechanism of law is the phrase “negative motives” and “positive motives”. It has been noted that lawful behavior as a fact can be motivated and unmotivated, but unmotivation does not mean the absence of a motive, but its unconsciousness. Accordingly, it is necessary to distinguish between conscious in lawful behavior and unconscious in lawful behavior (legal attitudes, habits, skills, legal intuition). The so-called fixed attitudes as an internal prerequisite for lawful behavior are unconscious, while social attitudes can be conscious. Legal attitudes are the basis for legal value orientations. It has been noted that the concept of “sense of law” as an element of motivation of lawful behavior is actually identical to the concept of “legal intuition”, which as a result of legal socialization of a person is at the same time their moral intuition. It also has a connection with the legal mentality of a person.


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Author Biography

А. М. Shulha, Kharkiv National University of Internal Affairs

Doctor of Law, Professor.
Department of Fundamental and Legal Disciplines.


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How to Cite
ShulhaА. М. (2022) “Legal consciousness as a prerequisite for person’s lawful behavior: retrospective view, modern interpretation”, Law and Safety, 87(4), pp. 45-58. doi: 10.32631/pb.2022.4.04.