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Law and Society
LWSO 203
Marywyatt Sindlinger

01/11/13 What is Law and Legal Theory? What is Law? Basic Definition: Law is a body of requirements and prescriptions that apply to human behavior. -Sets standards of behavior against which behavior can be evaluated. Law is internalized, and sets normative standards. General Features: -Prescribes certain behavior -Predicts behavior -Regular -General -Applies to everyone - Law= general; order=specific -Created and enforced by the state -Body for enactment and enforcement of the law Legal Theories Different theories provide explanation for the existence, authority and nature of law. 1) Natural Law Theory LAW IS MORALITY 2 key concepts: 1. Moral Universalism o Belief that Universal moral truths exist and will exist until the end of time o Greek: Theory of the forms o Christians: Divine NLT (Augustine) o Locke: Universal rights “inalienable” rights o Jefferson: Life, Liberty, Pursuit of happiness - Moral Relativism o What is moral changes over time o Opposite to moral universalism o NLTs reject this idea 2. Legal Validity Depends on Moral Validity Critiques: -How do we know what universal moral truths are? -Do these truths exist? -Truths must be very vague i.e. Do not kill 2) Legal Positivism -“To posit” – to state LAWS ARE MADE BY A SOVERIGN -Law is separate from morality -Authority legitimizes law -Law is justified and legitimate in accordance to its ma
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