An Introduction to Critical Legal Theory by Ian Ward

By Ian Ward

This booklet is a accomplished textual content for either scholars and academics of felony thought, jurisprudence and similar matters. It introduces all of the conventional faculties of felony thought, from average legislation to Positivism to felony Formalism in addition to a couple of modern and interdisciplinary techniques to felony concept together with legislations and economics, legislations and society, legislations and literature, severe felony stories, feminism, race conception and put up modernism.

In the method of so doing, in addition to introducing the reader to proven jurists, reminiscent of Bentham and Hart, Rawls and Durkin, the textual content additionally introduces philosophers akin to Plato, Kant and Sartre, economists reminiscent of Smith, Keynes and Galbraith, social theorists akin to Foucault, Marx and literary theorists reminiscent of Derrida and Fish.

This e-book seeks to ideal the expanding ambition of criminal idea to arrive past the slim confines of conventional jurisprudence and to re-establish itself in the wider highbrow international. This e-book is not only a textual content approximately felony conception, it's also a textual content which introduces the reader to philosophy, economics, politics, heritage, literature and social idea. It therefore presents not only a serious creation to felony idea, yet an creation to the complete ambition of legislation as an highbrow self-discipline.

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In Question 96, Aquinas confirmed that there can be such a thing as ‘unjust’ law. Following Aristotle, the matter of justice, as a virtue, is extricated from the of law, which is simply a matter of particular politics. The just law, of course, is law which furthers the ‘common good’, and so the unjust law is that which militates against the community. However, only those laws which can be discerned as being contrary to divine law can be wilfully disobeyed. Indeed, they must be disobeyed. Of course, only theologians – those who are intellectually capable of spiritual ‘reflection’ – can discern which laws are to be disobeyed.

Just as our constitutional order is still founded on Hooker’s commonwealth, so too our attitude to questions of law and morality is still determined in relation to our particular historical and political morality. The return to classicism At the heart of John Finnis’s Natural Law and Natural Rights is an ambition to reinvest jurisprudence with a concept of the ‘good’. Finnis’s text provides the most recent and substantive critical restatement of natural law theory. The classical tradition, he suggests, has been first distracted by the temptations of theology and then smothered by centuries of scepticism and positivism.

In fact, as Herbert Marcuse noted, it was the empowerment of the individual conscience facilitated by the Lutheran reformation which provided the intellectual foundation for Kantian theories of the moral self. 31 An Introduction to Critical Legal Theory According to Marcuse, it was Kant who provided a ‘secularised’ protestant theology (Marcuse, 1972, pp 56–94). At the same time, the rise of the political State, which had forced Aquinas and Hooker to fashion distinct political theologies, reached its epitome towards the end of the 18th century, by which time it could fairly be said that ideals of godly commonwealth and respublica Christiana only existed in the poetry of Milton or Blake.

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