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Philosophy 175

Exercise 1
Objective: To see the importance of Philosophy of Law in addressing
issues in law.
Instruction: On short, white, and letter-sized bond paper, write your
answers to the following:
1. State clearly five questions you want to ask about law.
a. What is law?
b. What is the purpose of law?
c. What is the nature of legitimate legal authority?
d. What is the relationship between law and morality?
e. What are the criteria for legal validity?
2. How can Philosophy help in answering those questions?
Law, being a body of rules and policies in the society, pervades in our
lives. Therefore, it is inevitable that we all share at least an immediate
practical interest in understanding law. Philosophy, on the other hand, is the
study of fundamental nature of knowledge, reality and existence. It is an
activity we engage into when we seek to understand ourselves, a particular
subject and its relation to the world/society we live in. Putting these two
together, we realize philosophy of law. Philosophy brings to law a set of
analytical and normative ideas which can aid us to refine and reform laws
that are already created for practical purposes. Moreover, philosophy can
help us develop a greater understanding, through various perspectives, of
the nature, theories, possibilities and limits of law as an instrument in
organizing social life.
3. Do you agree with John Gardner in his Why Study Jurisprudence, Robert
Burns in his The Tasks of a Philosophy of Law, and Dennis Patterson in his
Recent and Future Concepts of Law:From Conceptual Analysis To
Practice Theory of Law about their observations of Philosophy of Law?
Explain your answer.
I agree with Gardners assertion that philosophy of law helps legal
practitioners to formulate excellent arguments. Education in philosophy of
law enables one to identify problems, anticipate them and deal with them
through examination of the formal structure of arguments as well as, the
rules of logic. Moreover, I also agree that education in philosophy of law
enables one to see legal problems different from its first appearance on the
face of law. Essentially, it promotes a way of critical thinking among legal
practitioners by seeing possible implications of legal arguments and
proceedings. In addition, Burns claim on one of the tasks of philosophy of
law which is to provide an account of multi-voiced rhetorical methods that
will converge into a just resolution primarily raises an excellent point that

good arguments are not only based on structure and logic but more of its
power to persuade people. Also, it is important to note that among the tasks
of philosophy of law according to Burn, is to be open and interested in the
results and methods of other fields in the social sciences which will aid in
the laws interpretation. Furthermore, it is agreeable that Pattersons take
on law as a practice gives law a context into which it is applied. This is
evident in the definition of practice theory which emphasizes on looking at
how participants in the practice decide the state of the law and how it is to
be implemented.