An Introduction to Critical Legal Theory by Ian Ward

By Ian Ward

This booklet is a complete textual content for either scholars and lecturers of felony conception, jurisprudence and similar topics. It introduces all of the conventional colleges of felony concept, from average legislations to Positivism to felony Formalism in addition to a couple of modern and interdisciplinary methods to criminal conception together with legislation and economics, legislation and society, legislation and literature, serious criminal reviews, feminism, race idea and publish modernism.

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

This booklet seeks to excellent the expanding ambition of felony conception to arrive past the slender confines of conventional jurisprudence and to re-establish itself in the wider highbrow international. This ebook is not only a textual content approximately felony concept, it's also a textual content which introduces the reader to philosophy, economics, politics, background, literature and social conception. It hence offers not only a severe creation to felony thought, yet an advent to the whole ambition of legislations as an highbrow self-discipline.

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It is a model of practical reason for use in any community, ancient or modern. The foundations of Finnis’s theory closely proceed along the lines Aristotle prescribes from the foundations which Aristotle established. Most importantly, the participation of citizens, the active doing of good, is what defines the good and harmoniously ordered community. Such action, in turn, depends upon our ability to exercise this moral judgment. The political morality of a community is the product of its collective practical reason and exercise of moral judgment (Finnis, 1980, pp 29–36, 111, 119–27).

Law and morality again: Hart and Devlin In a series of lectures given during the late 1950s and early 1960s, Lord Devlin suggested that law has a duty to enforce certain moral standards. It was not an explicitly natural law thesis. Indeed, Devlin expressed an essentially positivist sympathy with regard to the legitimacy of laws enacted in accordance with due constitutional procedures. However, his lectures presented one of the clearest recent articulations of a distinctly Christian and theological foundation for English jurisprudence.

Like rights, these ‘duties’ are immanent to the moral self, and the ultimate duty is the ‘categorical imperative’. Indeed, 37 An Introduction to Critical Legal Theory the ‘categorical imperative’ is the keystone to the entire political structure. As an idea of reason, it provides a universal consistency, which can then be applied to test the validity of every particular law in the real political situation. A law is good and rational if it approximates the ideal of the ‘categorical imperative’. If it does not, then it is not a rational or good law (Kant, 1991b, p 51).

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