This work made publicly available electronically on September 16, 2011.
Having taken some constitution and government courses during my undergraduate studies, I was comfortable with my understanding of justice and morality. An independent research seminar into the philosophy oflaw with Dr. Huenemann changed that. Taking Brian Leiter's book Naluralizing Juri.lprudence as our gu ide, we dived into the vast question of "what is the law?" This seemingly simple question has shaped western society in too many ways to acco unt. for instance, Legal Realists - one group that believes all rights "are the creations of government and the legal rules it lays down,,1 - dramatically changed labor laws in the early 20th century by changing the long-held belief that property rights were static. If their philosophy hadn't become popular, would courts have continued to side with factory owners in postindustrial America? Consequently, if res ulting labor laws such as the Norris-LaGuardia Act of 1932 hadn ' t been enacted, what would our society look like today? I began to understand that justice. morality, and the law are intricately tied, and how we understand anyone of them will affect the others. More, I realized that legal phi losophy is in constant motion, adapting to vogue ideas. Society, built upon the principle of law, likewise sways in harmony with legal philosophy. The following is one perspective of what the law is. Though no theory is completely dominant today. Legal Positivism as formulated by 1-l.L.A. Hart, has arguably had the greatest impact on legal philosophy since the 20th century.
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