Jurisprudence does not claim general and accepted characteristics of its method, except in the case of the theory of interpretation. It does, however, insist on certain postulates or ideals, as is agreeable to its normative character. One of these postulates is the absence of passion, bias, prejudice; another is certainty or consequentiality, so that a judgment may be foreseen.
Thus for instance, Jhering says:
"An immovable sense of security is the state of mind produced by Law. If Justice herself could come down from heaven, take up the stylus and engrave a statute so definite, exact, and detailed that its application would become a mere mechanical calculation, a condition would arise than which a more perfect administration of the Law could not be conceived."
It is at a much later time that a third postulate appears, a postulate which at the present time is beginning to show itself quite frequently: Juridical thinking is to adapt itself to practical needs; it is to be practical; where conditions require, it is to have even the courage of being illogical. This third ideal is considered to be inconsistent with the second, yet there is no tendency to give up one or the other, or to devise means to solve the inconsistency by delimiting the spheres of influence of both principles.
The ideals here enumerated are of importance for the investigation of the characteristics of juridical thinking, because they seem to point out essential qualities of such thinking and show the way our inquiries must take. It is from this point of view that we propose to examine briefly the first two of the above postulates. The third we shall not examine separately because it is so closely connected with the ideal of certainty, and also because it is so infinitely complicated. For it is mixed up with the whole mass of social interests.