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A Map of Jurisprudence


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Every map is designed from a particular perspective. By 'mapping' a reality, one highlights some aspects and downplays other aspects of that reality. In geography, you have maps of vegetation, migration flows, political tendencies, nations or topography.

This is an exercise in intellectual geography -- a very rough attempt at 'mapping' various jurisprudential schools of thought. The maps are made from my perspective. Other people might draw the maps differently, including the scholars whose thought I 'map'. Versions of these maps have proven helpful to some of my students in the past, and this is why I put them online. They don't carry any official imprimatur.

Two more warnings. First, as the saying goes, "don't take the map for the road". Maps represent something; there are not the thing they represent. Maps can be mistaken. If you're driving through the spot which the map shows as dead-end, then there is no dead-end. Maps can (must?) be incomplete. If the street you're in is not depicted in your map, then the map has missed it out. So if anything in the maps below looks implausible to you, chances are that the map is wrong. Check with the original source, never only trust the map!

Second, even if accurate, the maps are gross simplifications. The information in them is by far not enough, even as a nutshell, to pass an exam. You may find the maps useful at two stages: when approaching a new topic, and when - having studied the topic in detail - you are ready to put the topic in context. At this point you will have to decide if the map contains too many or too few streets!

Click on the name to display the map. Email me with suggestions and criticisms. New maps can be added upon request.









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Think about this: What determines the perspective from which a map is composed? Why would some draw a line here, why would others draw it there, why would yet others not draw it at all? Any why, other than for differences in skill, do different thinkers have different theories about the nature of law? Is what they do not also drawing a map -- a map of law? And don't they not all want to represent the same thing -- law (rather than law's vegetation, topography, etc.)?

[hint: read Finnis, Natural Law and Natural Rights, ch. 1]



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