The discipline of philosophy has been central to intellectual discourses throughout ages. All of history testifies to the fact that we humans have continually tried to make sense of our lives and surroundings as well as universal phenomena using our faculties of perception. What this tells us about philosophy as a discipline is that it is rooted in our all-pervading curiosity for knowledge. Even etymologically, philosophy translates to the “love of wisdom”. The subject explores our understanding of reality as well as the fundamental dimensions of human existence and experience through abstract, rational arguments and thoughts.
When this discipline is studied in conjunction with law, one comes across an interesting field of inquiry, i.e. “philosophy of law” or “jurisprudence”. This interdisciplinary subject concerns itself with a general philosophical analysis of law and legal institutions, covering a wide range of topics such as law and morality, justice, equality, utility et cetera. The Philosophy of Law thus examines the nature of law in its relation to human values, attitudes, practices, and political communities.
To conduct research in the discipline of philosophy and the intersection between law and the subject, one must understand research methodology in general. Given below are links to help you get started with that:
- Introduction to Research Methodology, Indira Gandhi National Open University, (2017)
- M S Sridhar, Introduction to Research Methodology: Problem Selection, Formulation and Research Design, (2010)
- Mimansha Patel and Nitin Patel, Exploring Research Methodology: Review Article, International Journal of Research & Review, Volume 6, Issue: 3, (2019)
- Alexander M. Novikov and Dmitry A. Novikov, Research Methodology | From Philosophy of Science to Research Design, (2013)
For readers who are just getting started:
- Simon Blackburn, Think: A Compelling Introduction to Philosophy (1999)
- Jostein Gaarder, Sophie’s World: A Novel About the History of Philosophy (1991)
- Mark Tebbit , Philosophy of Law | An Introduction (2017)
- Plato, The Republic (c. 375 BCE)
- Marcus Aurelius, Mediations (167 ACE)
- Roscoe Pound, An Introduction to the Philosophy of Law (1922)
- René Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy (1641)
- Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy (1926)
For readers with basic understanding:
- Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics (350 B.C.E)
- Immanuel Kant, Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals (1785)
- John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1689)
- Thomas Aquinas, Treatise on Law (1485)
- H. L. A. Hart, The Concept of Law (1961)
- Ronald Dworkin, Law’s Empire (1986)
- Joseph Raz,The Authority of Law (1979)
Free online resources:
Authors to follow:
These are contemporary legal philosophers that readers can follow for further developments in the discipline:
Note from the Editors:
Dear reader, as you may have observed – the literature predominantly is produced in the context of the global north, hence there is a dearth of articles or books examining the relationship between philosophy and law in the global south (including India).
We sincerely hope that as a reader, you may take up the initiative to write on such topics in the context of the global south (and hopefully publish with us!). In that spirit, we wish happy reading!
Also, if you feel we missed out on any literature/resource or have a recommendation that we can add to this section, please do let us know. Even if you do not have any recommendations, any feedback is much appreciated. Thank you!