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There is considerable injustice in our world: economic, social, and political inequality renders the need for clarity in the formulation of specific theories of justice. The subject is always both contentious and complex. Theories of justice have, since the time of the Greeks been an important element in moral, political, and legal theory which has generated a vast literature. This chapter focuses on four main theories of justice: utilitarianism; the economic analysis of law; John Rawls’s influential theory of ‘justice as fairness’; and Robert Nozick’s ‘entitlement theory’ of justice, equality, and the ‘capability’ approach advanced by Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum.


James Penner and Emmanuel Melissaris

Fully updated and revised McCoubrey & White’s Textbook on Jurisprudence clearly breaks down the complexities of this often daunting yet fascinating subject. Sophisticated ideas are explained concisely and with clarity, ensuring the reader is aware of the subtleties of the subject yet not overwhelmed. With chapters dedicated to both key concepts and leading theorists, this text takes a wide-ranging look at jurisprudence and places central ideas in context. In particular it centres around one of the leading theorists, H. L. A. Hart, and considers the landscape of jurisprudence in relation to his seminal The Concept of Law, looking at the key ideas that influenced him and considering the response to his work. Coverage of post-modern and feminist legal theory is also included, alongside discussion of key theorists such as Thomas Hobbes, Immanuel Kant, and John Rawls. Logically organised to support the topics commonly taught on jurisprudence and legal theory courses, this text provides an easy-to-follow and digestible account of this wide-ranging subject, making it the ideal companion text for further reading and research throughout your course. New to this fifth edition are: substantial revision of Part 1: Theories of the Nature of Law; discussion of philosophical issues in law, featuring three new chapters: The Building Blocks of Law: Norms and their Nature; Governing and Obedience; and Law and Adjudication; chapters on the political and legal philosophies of Hobbes, Kant, and Rawls; and substantial revision of the chapters on Marxism and postmodern legal theory.