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Philosophy of law

Philosophy of law is a branch of philosophy and jurisprudence which studies basic questions about law and legal systems, such as "what is the law?", "what does it mean to say something is legal or illegal?", "what is the relationship between law and ethics?", "why there is a law, or why there should be one?", "what does it mean to be a legal subject?", and many other ones.

One might also use the term "philosophy of law" to describe a vantage or set of underlying assumptions upon which one would build a language of law. For example, answering the question "can you defend someone you know is guilty?" would require the exploration of assumptions such as "how do you determine guilt?" or even the more basic "how do you know the person is guilty?" (see epistemology). As we refine our philosophy of law, we can tend towards a reasonable defence of our conclusion, whether we conclude "yes, I can defend someone I 'know' is 'guilty'" or "no, I cannot defend someone I 'know' is 'guilty'."

Basic schools of thought include natural law and legal positivism[?].

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