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Cover Understanding Jurisprudence
With a clear, engaging, and informal style, Understanding Jurisprudence is the perfect guide for students new to legal theory looking for a handy and stimulating starting point to this sometimes daunting subject. Key theories and theorists are introduced in a compact and practicable format, offering an accessible account of the central ideas without oversimplification. Further reading suggestions are included throughout, helping students to structure their research and navigate the jurisprudence’s extensive literature. Critical questions are also included in each chapter, to encourage students to think analytically about the law and legal theory, and the numerous debates that it generates. The author is an experienced teacher of jurisprudence and excels at providing a concise, student-friendly introduction to the subject, without avoiding the subtleties of this absorbing discipline. New to this, the book’s sixth edition, are: the most recent scholarship in several areas, including expanded discussions of theories of justice, globalization, and environmental protection, as well as a new section on judicial review and democracy. There are also updated suggested further reading lists and questions at the end of each chapter.


Cover McCoubrey & White's Textbook on Jurisprudence

2. Natural Law  

J. E. Penner and E. Melissaris

This chapter explores classical natural law theory. The discussions cover the central concerns of naturalist theories; classical Greco-Roman natural law; the impact of Christian theologian philosophers, in particular Augustine and Aquinas; the natural law revival; Fuller’s procedural natural law; and John Finnis and the theory of natural rights.


Cover Understanding Jurisprudence

3. Classical legal positivism  

This chapter examines the important theory of legal positivism that has long dominated jurisprudence. It explains the core ideas of the theory, and then considers the leading proponents of classical legal positivism, especially the leading nineteenth century philosophers, Jeremy Bentham and John Austin. Bentham is best known as a utilitarian and law reformer, but he insisted on the separation between the ‘is’ and ‘ought’ of law, or what he preferred to call ‘expositorial’ and ‘censorial’ jurisprudence, respectively. Austin was equally emphatic in maintaining this distinction, but his analysis is generally regarded as much narrower in scope and objective than Bentham’s.


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2. Natural law and morality  

This chapter discusses the relationship between the ancient classical theory of natural law and its application to contemporary moral questions. It considers the role of natural law in political philosophy, the decline of the theory of natural law, and its revival in the twentieth century. The principal focus is on John Finnis’s natural law theory based largely on the works of St Thomas Aquinas. The chapter posits a distinction between ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ natural law, examines the notion of moral realism, and examines the tension between law and morality; and the subject of the moral dilemmas facing judges in unjust societies.


Cover The Concept of Law

IX. Laws and Morals  

H. L. A. Hart

Celebrated for their conceptual clarity, titles in the Clarendon Law Series offer concise, accessible overviews of major fields of law and legal thought. This chapter examines the relations between law and morals. It analyses what lies between Natural Law and Legal Positivism. It considers, in the form of five truisms, the salient characteristics of human nature upon which the minimum content of Natural Law rests. These truisms are: human vulnerability, approximate equality, limited altruism, limited resources, and limited understanding and strength of will. The chapter concludes by examining six forms of the claim that there is some further way in which law must conform to morals beyond that which has been exhibited as the minimum content of Natural Law.