Title

What is Law?

Document Type

Contribution to Books

Publication Date

1-1-2000

Abstract

"What is law?" is a simple question with a variety of a very complex answers. The question usually leads to a variety of other questions, such as: Where did it come from? How did it originate? On what is it based? Whom does it serve--everyone, or just those with money and influence to get laws enacted and enforced? The next two chapters attempt to answer these questions from a number of different perspectives. Before we attempt this, let us first define law: Law is a written body of general rules of conduct applicable to all members of a defined community, society, or culture, which emanate from a governing authority, and is enforced by its agents by the imposition of penalties for its violation. This definition is only one of many that could be offered, and it may not be acceptable to everyone. Nevertheless, we need a working definition to proceed social endeavor.