Law is the system of rules that governments and communities recognize as regulating the actions of their members. It is a complex subject with many definitions and is often described as a science or an art.
Legal theory is a branch of philosophy that deals with the study of the laws and principles that govern behavior. It is a field of inquiry that has been around for centuries and continues to be highly debated.
There are several schools of thought about how laws work, including formalism (treating the law as a mathematical or scientific problem), realism (treating the law as a human problem that must be solved by balancing all of the competing interests of the parties involved) and conceptualism (treating the law as if it were a set of laws, with the courts applying the law to cases).
Formalists believe that law is a rational, logical, and predictable system of principles. They argue that a judge is trained to identify the relevant legal principles, apply them to the facts of a case, and deduce a rule that governs the outcome of the dispute.
Realism believes that the law is a complex system of values, beliefs, and attitudes. It is a system that must be applied in the real world, rather than in a vacuum, and it must be adjusted to the needs of the people who use it.
Legal theory can be divided into two categories, legal justification and moral theory. Justification is a matter of proving that certain legal norms are legitimate, and moral theory involves understanding the values that animate these laws. Justification can be grounded in a legal norm or can be motivated by moral beliefs, such as a desire to promote the good of society.