Legal Philosophy

By Stephen Riley
January 2013
Pearson Education
Distrubuted by Trans-Atlantic Publications Inc.
ISBN: 9781408277348
322 pages
$62.50 Paper Original

Legal Philosophy offers an engaging introduction to the most important themes shared by law and philosophy. It examines the key concepts that characterise what law tries, or ought to try to do, providing analysis of what leading thinkers and theorists from varying, often conflicting, schools of thought have contributed to our understanding of them. It examines concepts central to law, such as “person,” “good,” “right,” “rules,” and “justice” and, by taking this approach, aims to develop your students’ skills around questioning and reasoning.




Chapter 1 Justice

1 Ends

a. Judgment

b. Desert

c. Truth

2 Means

a. Adjudication

b. Impartiality

c. Equality

3 Individuals

a. The individual’s good

b. Rights

c. Status

4 Collectives

a. The common good

b. The rule of law

c. Authority

5 Philosophy and justice

a. Meta-theory

b. Scepticism

c. Pragmatism


Concepts and methods

§ Theorising

Further reading

Chapter 2 Person

1 Facts and values

a. Humans and persons

b. Science and facts

c. Humanity and human nature

2 Aristotle

a. The human species

b. Political animals

c. The situated person

3 Humanism

a. Humanity and persons

b. Liberty

c. Fraternity and equality

4 Feminism

a. The second sex

b. Nature as ideology

c. Identity politics

5 Freedom

a. Freedom as liberty

b. Freedom as rationality

c. Freedom as autonomy


Concepts and methods

§ Ideas and ideology

Further reading

Chapter 3 Good

1 The good

a. The human good

b. A good life and justice

c. Happiness and harmony

2 Plato

a. The good and the individual

b. The good and the state

c. Contemporary Platonism

3 Natural law

a. Early natural law

b. Natural law and religion

c. Modern natural law

4 Utilitarianism

a. Hedonism

b. Utilitarianism

c. Variants of utilitarianism

5 Place and property

a. Property

b. Environment

c. Capability


Concepts and methods

§ Values

Further reading

Chapter 4 Right

1 Right

a. Right and truth

b. Right answers

c. Right as justice

2 Right as correspondence

a. Kant: right as duty

b. Hegel: right made social

c. Marx: right made material

3 Right as coherence

a. Hobbes: right as contract

b. Mill: right as liberty

c. Rawls: right as fairness

4 Rights

a. Hohfeld: distinguishing rights

b. Dworkin: rights as trumps

c. Nozick: rights as constraints

5 Human rights

a. From natural rights to human rights

b. Particularity versus universality

c. Human rights and liberalism


Concepts and methods

§ Logic

Further reading

Chapter 5 Rule

1 Rules

a. Rules as commands

b. Forms and functions of rules

c. Formalism and anti-formalism

2 Positivism

a. Origins of positivism

b. Logical positivism

c. Legal positivism

3 Hart

a. The concept of law

b. Primary and secondary rules

c. Hart and his critics

4 Wittgenstein

a. Rules and sense

b. Rule scepticism

c. Anti scepticism

5 Disobedience

a. The Socratic paradox

b. The authority of legal systems

c. The authority of individual laws


Concepts and methods

§ Rules and exceptions

Further reading

Chapter 6 Norm

1 Norms and normativity

a. Law as 'binding'

b. Normativity and the jurisprudential schools

c. Classifying norms

2 Kelsen

a. Kelsen’s critical project

b. A pure theory of law

c. The Grundnorm

3 Law and social norms

a. Law and history

b. Law and sociology

c. Law and economics

4 Realism

a. Realism and normativity

b. Scandinavian realism

c. American realism

5 Force and power

a. Norms and repression

b. The force of law

c. Critical legal studies


Concepts and methods

§ Critique

Further reading

Chapter 7 Law

1 Foundations

a. Transcendent

b. Immanent

c. Self-subsisting

2 Forms

a. Historical and territorial

b. Ahistorical and atopic

c. Diachronic

3 Functions

a. Constitute

b. Regulate

c. Justify


Concepts and methods

§ Knowledge

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