The Concept of Law and Its Origins and Evolution


Law is a discipline that focuses on enforcing rules of conduct in communities. These rules are recognized as binding by the community and enforced through the authority that has control over the community. This article will explore the concept of law and its origins and evolution. It will also discuss its limits. The Rule of Law is a necessary element of any civil society.

The Rule of Law as an ideal

The Rule of Law as an ideal has been debated by philosophers and theorists since ancient times. While some have praised the idea, others have condemned it. Philosophers like Aristotle and Hobbes have argued that the rule of law is an ideal beyond the power of law. Others, such as Carl Schmitt, have attacked the liberal assumption that rules can prevail in times of crisis.

Its origins

The origin of law is a multi-faceted story. As early as the sixth century, people believed in natural laws. These laws were rooted in the physical sciences, but also included rules that defined right and wrong. This belief that law is absolute and unchangeable was widespread in pre-Darwinian times, and was widely accepted for much longer than the subsequent evolution of law.

Its evolution

One of the ways to understand Law’s evolution is to consider the objectives for which it is designed. Law and governance institutions can encourage or discourage wealth seeking. Considering the objectives of these institutions is essential for a positive analysis of Law’s evolution.

Its limits

Several perspectives have been developed to discuss the limits of law. One strand traces its origins to the legal enforcement of morality and claims that basic justice and constitutional essentials should be subject to public reason. Another perspective challenges the assumption that the limits of law are an evaluative issue and views the question from a conceptual perspective. In this perspective, the limits of law are conceptual and internal moral, referring to the limits of coercion, which law must overcome. A further question relates to the deployment of techniques other than coercion.

Its sources

Law’s sources are an important issue for legal scholars. It is the study of law’s origins and how it evolved through the centuries. The scientific study of comparative law was first published in 1748 by Charles de Montesquieu. This work was banned by the papal index, but its purpose was to expose the origins, presumptions, and soul of law. It reflected the Enlightenment’s belief that reason should permeate human institutions.