What Is Law? Essay

Submitted By holycow1234
Words: 810
Pages: 4

Student: Howard Stone 98281511 Laws 110 – Lecturer: Associate Professor John Hopkins Legal System: Research, Writing and Legal Foundations

Whatever axiomatic position one wishes to take with regard to the law: Be it, Plato’s embodiment of reason, HLA Hart’s system of rules, Marxist theories of oppression, or Llewellyn’s, “what officials do about disputes”, it does seem as our resource suggests that whatever form law takes, its raison d'être is generally the same; “to set up social mechanisms whereby social order can be established and maintained, social change managed, disputes settled and policies and goals for a community adopted”.
There are also myriad ways to philosophically consider the law: Natural law connects the law and morality while Positivism highlights the separation of law and morality. Formalism is marked by a reverence of logic and a priori reasoning; Legal Realism holds the vision that the law is as it is practised on the ground whilst Functionalism is a practice of some who may prefer maintaining societal values by securing compliance. Further, many laws and systems of law are geographically specific and bring divergent views when cross considered culturally, demographically or societally. Thus far, L L Fuller’s words on purposive adjudication seem most agreeable; he describes the law not only as a set of rules, but of rules derived from underlying principles that some call, the spirit of the law.
“The prophecies of what the courts will do in fact, and nothing more pretentious, are what I mean by the law.” Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.’s, 1897 assertion captures the pragmatic theme of his own philosophy toward law, but beyond the face of it, it would seem that Justice Holmes is giving an account of how a litigator needs to think about the law as it applies to the basic function of the job with regards to any client’s primary interest which is that of judicial outcome.
It is possible that John Locke may not have developed his brilliant legal theories if he had not had Thomas Hobbes to contend with and, it is clearly through their debate that Locke came up with his definition of the separation of powers. Similarly, Holmes maintains that, “The life of the law has not been logic; it has been experience”, in his great essay, ‘The Path of the Law’. It is through hard earned wisdom gained from experience that our laws, developed through societal systems to represent our values, change and grow. In law it is ultimately helpful to reflect upon the views of others.
In summation, law is not simple syllogism, and Fuller’s words reasonably suggest that law is based in principals and our principals are not just about order, they are about just order and a clear set of principals are a necessary basis from which law can be derived and litigious outcomes predicted.
Nevertheless, a priori or via negativa, through incidental features or essential features, through syllogism, pre-existence or prophecy, a fish is still a fish.
Word count 500, exactly…

Adams John and Brownsword Roger Understanding the Law (2nd ed, Sweet& Maxwell, London, 1998)
Bagby L. M. J Thomas Hobbes: Turning point for horror (Lexington Books, Lanham, 2009)
Blackburn S. Plato’s Republic: A book