There are two approaches to starting a new sport.
The first approach is “basic drills first.” In this approach, you first develop your basic physical strength through solid training by repeating basic drills such as passing and dribbling. After you have acquired the solid basic skills, you start playing simulated games.
The second approach is “playing games first.” Here, you actually play a game. As you play, you realize how fun the sport is. However, while playing the game, you often find yourself unable to play as well as you thought you could. In this approach, you learn how fun it is to play the sport and the associated challenges, which confirm the importance of basic drills.
Based on these two approaches, we can say that there are two approaches to learning the philosophy of law, as there are to learning a sport.
Typical textbooks of the philosophy of law adopt the “basic drills first” approach. Students first learn to master the basic concepts of the philosophy of law. They learn about the meaning of rights, the meaning of legal positivism, and how consequentialism is different from deontology with rigor. Then, they develop the skills to examine applied problems. The textbook Hou Tetsugaku [Philosophy of Law] (Yuhikaku, 2014), which I co-authored, also uses this approach in principle. This approach is an orthodox introductory approach, which, if everything goes right, allows students to acquire a solid, basic understanding of the philosophy of law. However, some students might stumble on the abstract discussion at the beginning and give up.
Thus, I decided to adopt the second (“playing games first”) approach in this book. From the outset, the reader is challenged to answer controversial questions in the philosophy of law, such as whether doping should be banned or whether people should be allowed to sell their organs. By working on these questions, the reader will gradually see and learn how the basic concepts and ideas of the philosophy of law can be useful. The objective of this approach is to get the reader to experience the fun of the philosophy of law and feel the real significance of learning the philosophy of law and, in so doing, to simulate their motivation for learning.
The “real games” that the reader takes on from the outset of this book are diverse, as shown in the Table of Contents below. All of them are controversial, practical, and modern. This book was written not only for those who want to develop their thoughts on each of these questions but also for those who want to have a clear understanding of the philosophy of law underlying these questions.
(Written by TAKIKAWA Hirohide, Professor, Graduate Schools for Law and Politics / 2020)