Philosophy of Law


Law has many functions in society, and some people consider it more important than others. This article will explore the Philosophical foundations of law, First-order theories, Coercive aspects of law, and the functions of law in society. The article will also cover the function of law in contemporary society and the many ways in which it affects people’s lives. If you haven’t read this article yet, it’s probably time that you did.

Philosophy of law

Philosophy of law is a field of inquiry about the nature of law. Law as a means of governance dates back to around 3000 bce in ancient Egypt. Its continued development and sustained philosophical reflection began during the late fifth century bce in ancient Greece and the nearby areas of the Mediterranean, and continues to this day. This history of philosophy reveals the changes in the central questions surrounding law over the centuries. Here are some of the key topics discussed in philosophy of law:

First-order theories of law

The main purpose of first-order theories of law is to give a systematic account of a phenomenon. However, the precise target of a theory depends on its methodological commitments. This includes the kind of data that a theory aims to systematize, as well as the sort of arguments that can be legitimately used to decide between competing theories. This article explores the main questions that are raised when evaluating a first-order theory of law.

Coercive aspect of law

The coercive aspect of law refers to the power to compel others to do something against their will. As a consequence of the coercive aspect of law, laws are created with the intention to influence the behaviour of those who are deemed to be guilty of crime. These laws are set to make the bad man think twice before he does anything. This principle is based on the assumption that people are rational and care about the consequences of their actions.

Functions of law in society

Law is fundamental to any society and it can be viewed as a social institution that protects the rights of individuals and the interests of the state. In western philosophy, law is a system of rules and norms that balance the interests of individuals with the needs of the state. A philosopher such as Sohn defined law as a social system necessary for life. He emphasized that law is divided into two kinds: private law and public law. Both types govern the rights and duties of individuals and the relationships between the state and society. Similarly, von Ihering saw the functions of law as striking a balance between the interests of egoism and altruism. He also regarded law as a universal principle.

Relationship between law and social sciences

The study of law is integral for the study of society. Law provides the necessary structure for society to function and gives deep insights into political factors that shape society. On the other hand, social science analyzes human behavior and how these factors affect society. A knowledge of both is essential for interpersonal relationships. Knowledge of both fields ensures that individual rights are protected and that the rule of law is applied in society. Hence, both fields are interconnected.