Jurisprudence is defined as the “philosophy or science of law.” This, though vague in description, provides quite an amount of depth to be examined. “Legal philosophy,” itself, comprises four common areas of classification. The first category is that which seeks to critically examine various aspects of law such as would include tort law and constitutional law. Such vehicles for this type of jurisprudence are that of law textbooks and legally-focused encyclopedias.
The next area would be that of jurisprudence’s comparison of law to various areas of study such as economics and religion. The purpose of such scholarly comparison is for the enlightenment of all areas of study. The third type is that which criticizes or poses inquiry as to the law. Such journeys to find new answers concerning law represent an avenue by which law may be challenged, and therefore, improved.
These may include questions concerning a law’s historical or cultural aspects that have contributed to its existence and creation. The closing type amidst these four is that of may prove to advance it even more so, and that is of more hypothetical questioning, that which may have not been considered before. These kinds of questions present a basis for which governing bodies may reconsider their views and either adequately defend the foundation of such laws or begin to rethink its advent. It promotes a wealth of reconsideration that will only lead to more advanced proceedings in law.
These areas of jurisprudence seem poised to provide responses to questions connected to formalism, realism, positivism, and naturalism. Formalists examine law as a mathematician or scientist would. They believe that judges, for instance, come to rulings in much the same ways as mathematicians reach an adequate theorem of use. Realists, in contrast, possessed two separate ideals in mind. These include that law was not “a scientific enterprise,” and that judges acquired final rulings based on their political allegiances. Positivists and naturalists present a whole other dichotomy of beliefs.
Positivists reside in the mindset that only laws, as set forth by governments or other federal legislatures, may be used as precedence for judgment in the judicial system. They believe that other areas of beliefs such as religion have no basis as a significant reference whatsoever. Naturalists, however, despite agreeing with the legitimacy of governmental law, do also believe in the legitimacy of other sources. They reference natural law, for instance, as that which is taken from the study of religion, “moral philosophy,” as well as “human reason.”
As we have seen, the various theories that reside within jurisprudence, though seemingly distinct, do present areas which may serve as bridges to one another. Though they exhibit differences, it may be in those areas that we may notice how they each equally contribute to the thriving of jurisprudence. Each maintains law as a significant aspect of life as they remind us of the fundamental functions and purposes of such a traditionally-held system of order we must all abide by.