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13. Philosophy of Law


Subject Law, Philosophy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631219088.2002.00018.x


For most of us, most of the time, law seems to be nothing more than a set of governmental arrangements whereby transactions are regulated and undesirable forms of conduct discouraged. Why should this give rise to philosophical problems? Or rather, why should it give rise to philosophical problems other than the problems of A pplied ethics ( chapter 16 , chapter 17 , chapter 18 , chapter 19 ), which may arise in relation to any set of human arrangements? A convincing answer to this question will require us to outline a number of puzzling features of the phenomenon of law. The philosophy of law lies at the intersection of these puzzles, and seeks to construct a coherent understanding of the nature of law in such a way as to resolve the puzzles. Some problems are of a kind that might occur to any thinking person, while others spring from the technical understanding and experience of lawyers. Some problems are generated by the special role that law enjoys within modern political life, while others arise only against the background of specific philosophical commitments imported from areas of enquiry such as E pistemology (chapter 1) or E thics (chapter 6) . Philosophers of law hope to offer solutions that are both enlightening and integrated, in the sense that a single theory of law should provide a basis for the resolution of all the central problems. Unsurprisingly, a diversity ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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