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In the United States jurisprudence normally signifies the philosophy of law. Jurisprudence is the study and philosophy of law. Specialists of jurisprudence, or legal philosophers, expect to gain a deeper understanding of the nature of law, of legal analysis, legal systems and of legal institutions.

Legal philosophy has many characteristics, but three of them are the most common:
  • Natural law is a school of legal philosophy which considers that there are invariable laws of nature which govern us, which are general to all human societies, and that our institutions should try to equal this natural law.
  • Analytic jurisprudence is indicate to be an objective study of law in impartial conditions, distinguishing it from natural law, which evaluates legal systems and laws throughout the structure of natural law theory, asks questions like, "What is law?" "What are the criteria for legal validity?" or "What is the relationship between law and morality?" and other such questions that legal philosophers may compromise.
  • Normative jurisprudence looks at the intention of legal systems, and which sorts of laws are adequate, asks what law ought to be. It overlaps with moral and political philosophy, and contains questions of whether one ought to follow the law, on what grounds law-breakers might correctly be punished, the correct uses and limits of regulation, how judges ought to decide cases.
The theory of jurisprudence has been around for fairly a long time. Both the Ancient Greeks and Romans believed the philosophy of law, and earlier societies possibly did as well. The word itself is resulting from a Latin phrase, juris prudentia, significance “the study, knowledge, or science of law.” As long as humans have had laws governing their activities, philosophers and commentators have been meditation about these laws and considering how they fit in with the societies which they are presumed to codify and protect.

Since law can frequently be slippery and incomprehensible, it may come as no revelation to learn that jurisprudence is exceptionally complicated and sometimes very confusing. Many of the world's most famous specialists and philosophers have at least dabbled in jurisprudence, elaborating dense tomes, complex arguments, and complicated expression. The study of jurisprudence is also essential for a good lawyer, because it guarantees that he or she deeply understands the law and the philosophical approaches which have been implicated in its conception.

Studying law does not automatically make someone a lawyer, even though it is a significant element of a legal education. For judges and other people who must infer, defend, or refuse the law, jurisprudence is a very important field of study, along with more general studies of history, society, and philosophy. Since laws are such an important emphasizing of society, jurisprudence can also offer important information about a nation and its people.

Modern jurisprudence and philosophy of law is influenced today principally by Western academics. The concepts of the Western legal tradition have become so enveloping all over the world that it is persuasive to see them as universal. Traditionally, however, many philosophers from other civilization have discussed the same questions, from Islamic scholars to the ancient Greeks.