Guide Essays in Legal and Moral Philosophy

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External Indexers: Web of Science Scopus. Editorial Board Editor S. Among philosophers, and lexicographers, analysis is contrasted with synthesis. Synthesis is bringing together, analysis is taking apart. One could explain something analytically by breaking it down into its own properties, and explain it synthetically by relating it to other things. Thus philosophers sometimes contrast an analytic proposition about something, which is true by the very nature of the something or conceptual ly true e.

Never mind if you don't get this: you get the gist of breaking down analysis versus bringing together synthesis. The problems really start when analysis or analytical is contrasted with something else. You may encounter three other contrasts: a analytical jurusprudence v evaluative jurisprudence; b analytical jursiprudence v critical jurisprudence and c analytical essay v descriptive essay.

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Contrast a is the contrast between understanding what law is the very nature of law and judging whether it or some of it is worthwhile, legitimate etc. Only some views of law make this distinction intelligible. Dworkin's, for example, breaks it down to a very large extent. Nevertheless it is a convenient way of dividing up your studies.

Contrast b is harder to pin down. Arguably it is mainly a contrast between two different subject-matters, with 'analytical' jurisprudents taking legal thought and language seriously in its own terms and trying to understand it exactly before they judge it, and 'critical' jurisprudents regarding legal thought and language as something of a smokescreen which it is best to blow out of the way so that one may go straight to judging the underlying 'real' structures of power, violence, exclusion, etc.

Finally, contrast c is the one you may find invoked by your tutor at the end of your essay 'too descriptive, not analytical enough'. You may be puzzled.

After all you remembered contrast a , the contrast between analysis and evaluation, and you identified that with a contrast between description and evaluation. So isn't analysis the same as description? No it isn't. What your tutor wants you to do is to start breaking down the views of the legal theorists you have studied e. What you did was to tell us what Hart and Dworkin said. Now ask yourself: Is that the same thing, or even close? You would have thought that all law students would be interested in argument. But surprisingly many think that an argument is what their parents had at Christmas, i.

An argument, however, is something you can enjoy on your own as well as with your partner. It is a process of using a combination of premises to arrive at conclusions. The conclusion must be a new proposition, different from each one of the premises. That you end your essay 'Thus it can be seen that In fact very often this form of words simply precedes a reiteration of various unargued assertions.

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You know your essay contains an argument when at the end you have reason to assert something more than you asserted at the beginning. A good argument will also give your reader reasons to accept the assertions at the end if they accept i. Means, err, 'having to do with concepts'.

Some law students say of jurisprudence that it is 'very conceptual'.

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But it is no more conceptual than, say, corporate finance law. Much legal study is the study of extremely troublesome legal concepts, such as contract, negligence, trust, and easement. Philosophical study, including jurisprudence, is often the study of concepts of similar difficulty and density to these, such as law, mind, knowledge, and duty. Of course there is one difference: lawyers, unlike philosophers, solve some of their conceptual problems by sheer judicial or legislative stipulation.

Philosophers, by contrast, want to illuminate concepts without slipping into sheer stipulation. So what is a concept, this thing that can supposedly be illuminated without slipping into sheer stipulation? Put simply, the concept of something is just the IDEA of that thing.

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When somebody asks 'what is the concept of law? The word 'law' has many meanings look at the dictionary and not all of them are equally relevant to the idea of law. Some are metaphorical, others are derivative, etc.

Law and the Social Order Essays in Legal Philosophy Social & Moral Thought Series

To know which are metaphorical, which are derivative, etc. And this idea is what 'conceptual analysis' of law is trying to unpack. Something is empirical if in principle we could come to know it by observation. Not necessarily visual observation: it could be by hearing or touch or smell or taste. Many people use the word 'factual' to mean the same as empirical, but you should take care with this. Philosophically , it is an open question whether there are non-empirical facts, e. In other words, don't move too quickly with the concept of a fact!

Thinking that all facts are empirical may be a symptom of an acute infection of positivism , treatable only with the latest philosophical narcotics! Philosophy itself is non-empirical. No philosophical truth and hence no philosophical facts, if facts they are is known by observation even the proposition that all other truths, or all other facts, are so known! In this respect philosophy is akin to mathematics.

If so, you believe in the existence of at least some non-empirical facts, so you are on your way to being cured of your infection. The study of knowledge from Greek. Problems about the nature and grounds of knowledge and belief are epistemological problems. The branch of epistemology that most often bothers law students studying jurisprudence is moral epistemology. Every time a moral problem comes up, a law student will ask: How are we to know? This is a boring and wasteful conversation stopper.

It is in general the plague of our age to refuse to argue about things by being fist-thumpingly skeptical. It provides people with a blanket defence tactic Why should I listen to you? Who are you to say? Watch out: If you are uncompromisingly skeptical about morality, in particular, you will find it hard to participate in arguments about it, and hence in many related jurisprudential arguments.

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So the best thing to do is the philosophical thing, whish is to suspend your disbelief and grant some non-skeptical assumptions for the sake of argument. You are hereby authorised to ask 'How are we to know? May mean either a morality or b moral philosophy. The word is often used by people who think that the words 'moral' and 'morality' carry unpleasantly conservative overtones, or are otherwise distracting.

Also preferred by people e. The result is an insider's critique of liberalism that extends contemporary liberalism's Kantian strand, combining it with postmodernist ideas about the contingent and socially constructed self to build a thoroughly original perspective on some of the most vital concerns of legal and moral theory.

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Dan-Cohen looks first at the ubiquity of legal coercion and considers its decisive impact on the nature of legal discourse and communication, on law's normative aspirations and claim to obedience, and on the ideal of the rule of law. He moves on to discuss basic values, stressing the preeminence of individual identity and human dignity over the more traditional liberal preoccupations with preference-based choice and experiential harm. Dan-Cohen then focuses more directly on the normative ramifications of the socially constructed self. Fundamental concepts such as responsibility and ownership are reinterpreted to take account of the constitutive role that social practices--particularly law and morality--play in the formation of the self.

Throughout, Dan-Cohen draws on a uniquely productive mix of philosophical traditions and subjects, blending the methods of analytic philosophy with the concerns of Continental philosophers to reconceive the self and its relation to ethics and the law.