The Philosophy of Law
Law is a system of rules created and enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior. It is a powerful tool that allows society to organize itself and ensure that the members of a community adhere to a common set of values and standards. It has been variously described as a science and as the art of justice.
Legal philosophy is a broad field of inquiry concerned with law and its fundamental purposes. It includes discussion of a wide variety of topics, from the nature and purpose of law, to the problems of legal interpretation and social justice.
The definition of law varies significantly among philosophers, with some believing it is a set of principles governing social behaviour, while others consider it to be the instrument through which the state manifests its will. In modern times, it is largely defined through formal sources of law such as statutes and judicial precedent. These forms of law are enforced by judges in court cases. In addition, courts may take persuasive, non-binding sources into consideration when deciding on a case such as foreign judgements, principles of morality, equity or justice, and professional opinions.
Law is often viewed as a reflection of underlying reality. Thus, a law that states that anything thrown up will come down is a reflection of the fact that objects in space are constantly falling. It is also seen as a system of social control that has evolved over time to reflect changing values and needs.