11 Jan



PREAMBLE: Jurisprudence deals with thinking about the law at a high level of abstraction. Liked with philosophy which is the search for wisdom and self understanding. Dealing with fundamental questions about life and law. Thales said all thing is water. Anximanes said all things is air as all things came from an unspecified boundless stuff[1]. Heraclitus that “everything is in a state of flux”. Parmenides that noting can not be. “for never shall this prevail, that things that are not are…”



We start with Egypt, then to Mesopotamia (Babylon) where the Hammurabi Code is of relevance. Then to India which operates the caste system, then to China where we hear names like Confucius.

We then move on to the Graeco-Roman Heritage, then to scholastic Era (with Philosophers like St. Thomas Acquinas and Saint Augustine). Then we move over to the modern Age which came with the idea of reason, state  and government. We look at the Social Contract Theory by John Locke. We look at Hugo-Grotius, and so on.

  1. Utilitarianism: with names like Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill.
  2. Historical School: von Savigny and the Volkgeist. Law coming along with the culture of the people. Law being culture specific. Basedon the spirit of the people.
  3. Sociological Jurisprudence: law as a tool for social engineering. We hear of names like. Robert Unger, and so on.
  4. Marxism: here of terminologies like bourgeoisie, proletariat. Names like Karl Marx also features here.
  5. Analytical Positivism: Names like HLA Hart, Dworkin John Austin and so on.
  6. Realist School: which sees law as being what the jidges declare. We shall hear names like Oliver Wendell Holmes.
  7. Thinking about law in Africa: we look at the conciliation mode of Africans. A.D.R. Get T.O. Elias, the natre of African Natural Law (Chapter 5).


[1] When air is thinned it becomes fire, when it is condensed it becomes wind, then cloud, when still more condensed, it becomes water, then earth, then stones. Everything else comes from these.


Quite eccentric really

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