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:
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.