Meaning of Philosophy of Law

What is Philosophy of Law:

The philosophy of law is a branch of philosophy that has as its object of study the being of law with respect to the spirit of man in a certain time and place.

The philosophy of law encompasses the total vision of the legal phenomenon in search of the moral, logical and historical conditions that make the Law possible.

In this sense, the philosophy of law has as its object of reflection a global vision of the legal phenomenon, taking into account its human, social, moral and historical dimension and its relationship with ethics and moral philosophy.

In this way, the philosophy of law has 2 main functions:

  • critical function: supervising the use of legal concepts and methods
  • Guiding function: showing what should not be and how legal knowledge should not be built.

In this sense, the philosophy of law studies 3 fundamental issues that it covers: the last formal purposes of law, the position of law in the field of cultural values ​​and the influence of law on the behavior of citizens.

Hegel’s philosophy of law

The German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831) in his treatise “philosophy of law” of 1821 sought to lay the foundations for the research and development of law as a science.

In this sense, Hegel defines concepts that would determine the form of rationality in which philosophical principles should be applied to laws in order to identify with their inhabitants.

Friedrich Hegel defined freedom as self-awareness to determine how to act and shape the content of his will, therefore, he defined a science of the State, a way in which the State should be conceived as a child of the time in which it is situated and never as a model, an ideal or as a form of established government. In this way he coins the term “ethical state”.

You may be interested:  Meaning of Abstraction

See also Status.

On the other hand, the Prussian philosopher Karl Marx (1818-1883) complements and debates Hegel’s thought by publishing in 1844 his work “Critique of Hegel’s philosophy of law”.

Philosophy of law and science of law

The philosophy of law and the science of law share the law as an object of study but differ in the field of reality studied.

The philosophy of law studies the law with respect to life in general while the science of law focuses on the law with respect to legal life.