Jurisprudence for the Perplexed
A Basic Introduction to Philosophy of Law
Philosophy of Law or jurisprudence or legal philosophy rationally, critically and systematically studies the assumptions and problems of Law as a discipline.
Philosophy of law asks fundamental questions concerning law and legal systems.
Such questions include: Why is law important? What would a society without laws be like? (Hobbes), Does anyone have an obligation to obey the law? If so, what is the source of this obligation? (Socrates/Plato), Is it ever morally permissible to disobey the law, i.e., to engage in civil disobedience? (Rawls), What is the purpose of Punishment? Should we legislate basing on moral principles? In the absence of a world government, is international law possible? (Kant), What is the nature of law itself, and in particular, what is the connection between law and morality? (natural law theorists vs.
legal positivists) What is the nature of legal reasoning? (legal formalists vs.
legal realists vs.
constructivists) What are the different types of freedom/liberty? What is a right? This book is an introduction to the basic debates in Philosophy of Law.
It is based on both a thematic and historical approach to jurisprudence.
Kizito Michael George lectures Philosophy, Gender and Human Rights in Makerere University Department of Philosophy.
He is the Programmes Manager of Makerere Centre for Applied Ethics.
He holds a BA and an Mphil.
He is currently writing his PhD on: Pro-Poor Empowerment and the Ethics of Poverty Policy Discourse.