Science is developing so fast. This is possible, because it shakes the way people try science as something that is very sacred in theological view, the science of law is one part of the study that never breaks along with technological advances and people in public life so that the views about the science of law are often clash with existing conditions in which the study is more integral and not in a separate science section.

Law within the scope of science has become a debate among law scholars, it has led law scholars to share legal science as part of social science. As a first step in the effort to answer the question of what is law? So we must first improve the understanding of legal science. In English legal science is known by the word “legal science” this is very wrong if interpreted etymologically, legal in English is rooted in the word lex (latin) can be interpreted as law. Law in English there are two different meanings, the first is a set of prescriptions about what should be done in achieving justice and the second, is a rule of conduct intended to create public order [1].

The first understanding in Latin is called ius, in French droit, in Dutch recht, in German also called Recht, whereas in Indonesian it is called Law. Whereas in the second meaning in Latin it is called Lex, French language, Dutch wet, German Gesetz, while in Indonesian it is called Law [2]. The word law in English turns out to originate from the word song, the rules made by the codified Anglo-Saxon kings [3]. The song turned out to be in a lex line and not ius. If this is followed, the term legal science will mean the knowledge of the laws and regulations. This will occur a mismatch of meaning contained in the science itself.

For the sake of avoiding such a thing in English legal science is properly referred to as Jurisprudence. While the word Jurisprudence comes from two Latin words, iusris which means law and prudentia which means wisdom or knowledge. Thus, Jurisprudence means legal knowledge.

It can be seen from an etymological point of view not to be excessive by Robert L Hayman giving an understanding of the science of law in this case Jurisprudence as broad as anything that is theoretical about law [4]. Here it can be seen that law is a stand-alone field of science which can then be integrated with other sciences as an application in other sciences. As a stand-alone science, the object of legal research is law itself, given that the study of law is not an empirical study, then by Gijssels and van Hoecke said jurisprudence is a science that is systematic and organized about symptoms law, power structure, norms, rights and obligations. [5]

Jurisprudence is a scientific discipline that is sui generis [6]. Then the study is not included in the field of study that is empirical or evaluative. Jurisprudence is not merely the study of law, but more than that is the study of something about the law in general. Hari Chand correctly compared law students and medical students studying their respective fields of science [7]. he stated that medical students who will study human anatomy must study their heads, ears, eyes and all body parts and their respective structures, relationships and functions. the same as a law student who will study the substance of law, must learn the concept of law, the rules of law, the structure and function of the law itself. He further stated that in addition to studying the human body as a whole, a medical student also needs to study external factors that affect the body, such as heat, cold, water, germs, viruses, insects and others. Likewise, law students, namely studying external factors that influence the law, including social, political, cultural, economic and values ​​contained in other fields of science.

Jurisprudence views law from two aspects; namely law as a value system and law as social rules. In studying law is to understand the intrinsic conditions of the rule of law. This is what distinguishes legal science from other disciplines that have legal studies of these other disciplines looking at law from the outside. Social studies of law place the law as a social phenomenon. Whereas evaluative studies link law with ethics and morality.

Modern jurisprudence began in the midst of the dominance of experts in the field of law who study it as a form of community development so that the basics of legal science are ignored, this is the object of study by the author, because now many legal scholars consider legal studies to be in the order of studies statutory regulations (legislative law) is not in the jurisprudential order, it is due to the inclusion of empirical studies into legal science as the basis of the study.


Based on the movements of society and the development of science, technology continues to change rapidly, therefore the law must be able to adapt to these developments, then by itself law as a field of science can provide guidance for a legal scholar who is now carried over and into the realm of jurisprudence integrated with other sciences. This has led many law graduates to think more praxis and no longer think as legal scientists.

By referring to the statement above, the writer tries to examine the problem of legal science which is the center of debate among the legal scholars themselves with the issue of “What is the Perspective of Legal Studies as One of Modern Sciences”.


Before we discuss about what and how law as a field of science, of course, we must first look at how the views of experts about the law. When questioning what the (nature) of law is, it actually has also entered the realm of legal philosophy. The question can actually be answered by jurisprudence, but the answer was apparently not satisfactory. This, among others, can be based on Van Apeldoorn’s opinion which among others states that legal science only provides one-sided answers, because legal science only looks at the symptoms of mere law [8]. He does not see the law, he only sees what can be seen with the five senses, not seeing the world of law that can not be seen, which is hidden in it, thus the legal norms as a value consideration lies outside the view of the Legal Norms (rules) of law not included in the realm of reality (Sein), but in the world of values ​​(Sollen and Mogen), so that legal norms are not the world of legal science inquiry.

According to Utrecht: “Philosophy of Law provides answers to questions such as: What is law really? (issue: the existence and purpose of the law). What is the reason we obey the law? (issue: enactment of the law). Is justice the measure for the pros and cons of the law? (issue: legal justice). These are the questions that are actually answered by law. But for many people it is not satisfying. Law as an empirical science only sees law as a symptom, that is, accepting law as a mere “gegebenheit”. Philosophy of law wants to see law as a rule in the sense of the word “ethisch wardeoordeel” [9].

The scope of Legal Philosophy, among others, can be seen from the formulation of the understanding of Legal Philosophy. Observing the various formulations that are varied, it cannot be said that the scope of Legal Philosophy is standard and stagnant, but on the contrary flexible and growing. However, the starting point remains the same, namely about the nature of the most profound or essential law.

The development lies in the nature of the law which can be seen from various perspectives, among others about the purpose of law, justice, the basis of binding the law, or why the law is obeyed and so on. The development of the scope of Legal Philosophy can be suspected with the main idea that the scope of Legal Philosophy has shifted to the scope of the scope created or agreed upon as a matter of Legal Philosophy by philosophers of the past. For example, the basic problem that concerns philosophers of the past towards Philosophy of Law is limited to the purpose of law (especially the problem of justice), the relationship of natural law and positive law, the relationship between state and law, and so on.

At present the object of study or the scope of the study of Legal Philosophy is not only a matter of legal purposes, but every fundamental problem is related to legal issues. In other words that the current Legal Philosophy is no longer the Legal Philosophy of philosophers as in the past, but it is the result of the thinking of legal experts (theoreticians and practitioners) who in their daily tasks face many problems relating to social justice in society .

In this connection Friedmann states as follows: “Before the nineteenth century, legal theory was essentially a product of philosophy, religion, ethics, or politics. The great legal thinkers were primarily philoshopers, churhmen, politicians. The decisive shift from the philpshoper’s or politician’s to the lawyer’s legal philosophy is of fairly recent date. It follows a period of great developments in juristic research, technique and professional training. The new era of legal philosophy arises mainly from the confrontation of the professional lawyer, in his legal work, with problems of social justice ”[10].

Socrates who had a dialogue with Thrasymachus (Sofinsft) argued that when measuring what is good and what is bad, beautiful and ugly, has the right and no right, it should not be left solely to individuals or to those who have power or wrongdoers, but objective measures should be sought to evaluate it. The question of justice is not only useful for those who are strong, but justice should apply to the whole community [11].

Plato has also discussed almost all of the issues covered in the Philosophy of Law. For him justice (justice), is the right action, can not be identified with only compliance with the rule of law. Justice is a characteristic of human nature which coordinates and restricts various elements of humans to their environment in order to enable humans to function properly. Plato also believes that law is a reasonable mind (reason thought, logismos) formulated in a state decision. He rejects the notion that the authority of the law rests solely on the will of the governing power [12].

Aristotle never formally defined law. He discusses law in various contexts. In another way Aristotle said that “Law is a type of order and good law is good order, a mind that is not influenced by lust, Aristotle also rejected the Sophist view that law is only conference. However, he also recognizes that law is often only an expression of the will of a particular class and emphasizes the role of the middle class as a stabilizing factor [13].

In the world of thinking about the law, at this time also raises the opinion that the human ratio can no longer be seen as an incarnation of God’s ratio. The human ratio is independent of the order of the Godhead. And this independent human ratio is the only source of law. The element of human logic is an important element in the formation of law.

In this case, 4 (four) types of laws are distinguished, namely, first, Lex aeterna (eternal law, eternal law), an expression of rational universal regulation from God; secondly, Lex divina (divine law, divine law) which guides humans towards their supernatural goals, God’s law is revealed through the scriptures; third, Lex naturalist (natural law), guiding human beings towards their natural goals, the result of human participation in cosmic forms; fourth, Lex human (human law, human law), regulates the relationship between humans in a particular society within the framework of special demands in that society (according to the conditions of the community concerned) [14].

By Thomas Kuhn defines: “… Recognized scientific achievements that for a time provide a model of problems and solutions to a community of practitioners” [15]. Meanwhile, according to Liek Wilardjo, he formulated: “As a model used by scientists in their scientific activities to determine the types of problems that need to be addressed, and with what methods and procedures through how the cultivation should be done” [16]. Another according to Space: “The Fundamental View of a Scientific Community About Models That Show the Fundamental Issues, Theories and Their Solution Methods”. [17]

So that in the development of law as a knowledge of many theories that spur thoughts about law, Hans Kelsen in Theory of Pure Law [18] said that a positive legal theory which is a general legal theory, not a presentation or implementation of legal regulations special. By comparing all phenomena in the name of law, he tries to reveal the nature of the law itself, determine its structure and the characteristics of its forms, independent of the content of the changes they have experienced at different times and among different people or nations. In this way he obtained the fundamental principles by which each legal rule could be understood. As a theory, the only purpose is to find out the subject. So to answer the question of what the law is, not what it should be. The latter question is part of the political field, whereas pure legal theory is scientific knowledge.

Hans Kelsen also said pure “purity”, to avoid recognition of positive law from all foreign elements, the boundaries of this subject and reconciliation must remain clearly in two directions: specific legal science, a principle commonly called jurisprudence, must be distinguished from the philosophy of justice, on the one hand, and from sociology, or social cognisity, on the other [19].

Ilmu hukum menunjukkan penafsiran normatif atas obyeknya hanya dengan memahami perilaku manusia yang tergabung dalam suatu masyarakat yang merupakan isi dari dan ditentukan oleh norma hukum. Ilmu hukum menjelaskan norma-norma hukum yang diciptakan oleh tindak perilaku manusia dan harus diterapkan dan dipatuhi oleh tindakan tersebut, dengan demikian ia menjelaskan hubungan normatif antara fakta-fakta yang ditetapkan oleh norma-norma itu[20].

According to Hegel, the separation of “existing law” and “law that should exist” in no way underestimates the importance of values in law, as explained also in Austin and Kelsen’s work, the separation places the two in a completely different field [21] .

In this case, jurisprudence in looking for a more modern form then uses the positivism model, this can be seen when Hans Kelsen in Reine Rechtslehre said that law is a logical arrangement of the laws and regulations that apply in one particular place and legal science is the science of these regulations, the essence of Hans Kelsen’s theory is:

  1. The aim of a theory of law, as of any science, is to reduce chaos and multiciplity to unity.
  2. Legal theory is science, not volition. It is knowladge of what the law is, not what the law. The law is a normative not a natural science.
  3. Legal thery as a theory of norms is not concerned with the effectiveness of legal norms.
  4. A theory of law is formal, a theory of the way of ordingring, changing contents in a specific way.[22]

In the twentieth century, many studies of law underwent a change from its basic realm as a science, it happened with the emergence of socilogical jurisprudence that was pioneered by Roscoe pound (1911) [23]. Pound put forward the idea of ​​a legal study that also paid attention to social effects from the workings of the law. The study of law cannot be limited only to a logical study of the application of legal regulations, but also the consequences that arise on society.

The flow and movement out of the realm of positive law have progressed quite strikingly. This development by Alan Hunt is referred to as “socialogical movement in law” Hunt’s book with the same title begins with the sentence “the twentieth century has produced a movement towards the sociologically oriented study of law. The study of law can no longer be regarded as the exclusive preserve of legal professionals, whether practioners or academics. There has emerged a sociological movement in law which has as its common and explicit goals the assault on legal exclucivism ….. “[24].

In my opinion, the study of legal science must be truly based on the subject and object as well as the purpose of the law itself before leaving and integrating with other sciences, so that the view of law as a science still stands in accordance with the corridor of the law itself. Because the law does not mean that it must be a burden in society but as an art (art of law) to regulate society and the law is not just a sanction that must be obeyed by the community so that according to legal writers in general it can be said as “an embodiment of human behavior individually and not society in general “. Or more specifically the law can be said is “repetition of the behavior of humans who are integrated / integrated with other human beings who form a society with norms that have individually existed, and formed in a sacred rule and obeyed by sanctions in the form of punishment and good morals it is forced or not “. [25]


1. Legal Knowledge Perspective

Law has characteristics as a science that is prescriptive and applied. As a prescriptive science, law studies the purpose of law, the values ​​of justice, the validity of the rule of law, legal concepts and legal norms. As an applied science of law, it sets standards for procedures, provisions, and guidelines in implementing the rule of law.

The prescriptive nature of legal science is something substantial in the science of law. This will not be possible to be learned by other disciplines whose object is also law. An initial step in the substance of the science of law is a discussion about the meaning of law in social life. In this case, jurisprudence does not only place law as a social activity which is only viewed from the outside; rather it enters into something more technical, the intellectual side of the law. In each of these conversations, of course, will answer the question of why the law is needed while there are other social norms. What is desired in the presence of law. In such discussions, jurisprudence will question what is the purpose of law. In such cases what is truly there is dealing with what should be. In the discussion an answer will be sought that will later become an answer between the two realities.

The next problem is a conditio sine qua non in law is a matter of justice. Regarding this issue, Gustav Radbruch’s view which correctly states that the legal ideal is nothing other than achieving justice “Est autem jus a justitia, sicut a matre sua ergo prius fuit justitia quam jus” [26]. The issue of justice is not a classical mathematical problem, but rather a problem that develops along with the civilization of society and human intellectuals. The form of justice can change but the essential of justice is always present in human life in social life. Hans Kelsen’s view that separates justice from law is unacceptable because it opposes the nature of the law itself. Thus raises a question about managing justice. So this is where prescriptive law science appears.

To understand the validity of the rule of law, many problems arise in human life, because humans are both members of society and at the same time creatures who have personalities. As members of the community, behavior must be regulated. And if the community places those rules that emphasize order, then this will hinder the personal development of its members. On the contrary, everyone tends to affirm interests while violating the rights of others if necessary.

To learn legal concepts means to learn things which were originally present in the mind which are presented as something real. The concept of law, legal clash or legal construction are things that are needed in social life. The concept of property rights, for example, is something that is very essential in social life. Such a concept does not occur suddenly, but experiences a long thought process. With the discovery of such concepts, will inevitably be followed by the rules that accompany them.

Studying legal norms is essential in the science of law. Studying law without studying legal norms is the same as studying medicine without studying the human body. Therefore, law is a normative science, this cannot be denied and in fact it is. Thus there is no reason for a law scholar to continue to consider legal science to be a normative science.

The nature of law as an applied science is a consequence of its prescriptive nature. A wrong application will affect something substantial. A true goal but in its implementation is not in accordance with what is to be achieved will result in no meaning. Bearing this in mind in setting standard procedures or methods, it must rest on something substantial. In this case the science of law will explore the possibilities in setting these standards.

Based on the scientific nature of legal science can be divided into three layers, in his book Jan Gijssels and Mark van Hoecke dividing the three layers are rechtsdogmatiek (Dogma of Law), rechtsteorie (Legal Theory) and rechtsfilosie (Philosophy of Law) [27]. In terms of the purity of law as a science, from the three divisions it can be seen that two of them (legal dogma and legal theory) are pure law and not integrated with other sciences while legal philosophy has been integrated with other sciences because in it will learn many things that intersect with other sciences. Therefore, law has two aspects, namely practical aspects and theoretical aspects.

2. Law as Modern Science

In the present case to show a certain paradigm that dominates science at a particular time. Before the existence of this paradigm was preceded by a separate and disorganized activity that began the formation of a science (pre-paradigmatic)

Starting from Kuhn’s idea of ​​a paradigm in the context of the development of science as mentioned above, the following paradigm (science) of law is presented, which also seems to play a role in the development of law. Starting with the idea of ​​natural law which was challenged by the later legal view (the rational paradigm of natural law), law then developed in the form of a unique scientific revolution.

But there are differences with the paradigm found in natural science (exact), where the presence of a new paradigm tends to subvert the old paradigm. In the social science paradigm (including legal science) the presence of a new paradigm in the presence of the old paradigm is not always the cause of the fall of the old paradigm. Existing paradigms only compete with one another, and have implications for strengthening, or weakening.

Natural law provides a moral basis for law, something that cannot be separated from the law as long as the law is applied to humans. This potential of natural law causes natural law to always appear to meet the needs of the times when legal life requires moral and ethical considerations. The implication is that natural law is manifested in the constitution and state laws.

The Historical Legal Paradigm based on the Volksgeist is not identical that the soul of the nation of every citizen of that nation produces the law. Is the source of law is the soul of the nation that both live and work in each individual that produces positive law. That, according to Savigny, does not occur by using the mind consciously, but grows and develops in the consciousness of the nation which cannot be seen with the five senses.

By Bentham, the theory was analogically applied to the field of law. The pros and cons of the law must be measured by the pros and cons of the consequences resulting from the application of the law. A new law can be judged as good if the consequences resulting from its application are good, maximum happiness and less suffering. On the contrary it is considered bad, if its application produces unjust consequences, losses and only magnifies suffering.

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Thus, the utilitarianist paradigm is a paradigm that lays the economic foundations for legal thinking. The main principle of their thinking is about the purpose and evaluation of the law. The purpose of the law is the maximum welfare for the majority of the people or for all people, and legal evaluation is based on the consequences resulting from the process of applying the law. Based on that orientation, the contents of the law are provisions concerning the arrangements for creating state welfare.

Talking about justice feels like an obligation when talking about legal philosophy, considering that one of the aims of law is justice and this is one of the most discussed legal goals in the course of the history of legal philosophy.

Understanding the notion of justice is not so difficult because there are some simple formulations that can answer the notion of justice. But to understand the meaning of justice is not as easy as reading the text of the notion of justice given by experts, because when talking about meaning it has moved on a philosophical level that needs deep reflection to the innermost nature.

The adherents of the Natural Law paradigm believe that the universe was created with the principle of justice, so that it is known among others Stoisism of the norms of primary nature which are general states: Give everyone what is his right (unicuique suum tribuere), and do not harm someone (neminem laedere) ” . Cicero also stated that law and justice were not determined by human opinion, but by nature.

The Legal Positivism Paradigm, justice is seen as the goal of the law. It’s just that fully aware of the relativity of justice often obscures another important element, namely the element of legal certainty. Adagium which is always touted is Suum jus, summa injuria; summa lex, summa crux [28]. The phrase literally means that harsh laws will hurt, unless justice can help.

In the Utiliranianism legal paradigm, justice is widely seen. The only measure to measure whether fair or not is how big the impact is on human welfare. As for what is considered useful and not useful, measured from an economic perspective.

Through a holistic approach to law, law can carry out its development as a more complete science and not be integrated into other sciences that will result in the development of law itself, therefore the paradigm will certainly change the legal map and legal learning which has been guiding us in every study of law that is better in scientific principles.


The development of jurisprudence is currently experiencing rapid sting in line with developments in science and technology, so that every law graduate must be able to adjust his knowledge to be able to balance these developments. However, this has changed by leaving the original nature of the knowledge he learned.

Legal science is an independent science and should be able to work alone in accordance with pure legal concepts and produce laws that are in accordance with the development of a more modern society. Therefore, law must return to the main concept as pure law.

The approaches used in understanding jurisprudence as a modern knowledge is by returning jurisprudence to its existence as a unit of knowledge that will be studied and studied as it should.

[The writer is a lecturer at the Indonesian Development University of Manado, now a graduate student in the Megister of Law, Jenderal Soedirman University, Purwokerto]


Angkasa, Dalam Bahan Kuliah Filsafat Hukum, Pascasarjana MIH Unsoed.

Apeldoorn, Van ’s inleiding tot de studie van nederlandse recht, 1985.

Chand, Hari, modern Jurisprudence, International Law Book Services Kuala Lumpur, 1996.

Gijssels, Jan and Mark van Hoecke, What is Rechtsteorie?., Kluwer, Rechtwetenschappen, Antwerrpen, 1982.

Hunt, Alan, socialogical movement in law, lihat Satjipto Raharjo dalam Jurnal Progresif “Pendekatan Holistik Terhadap Hukum, volume 1 No. 2, hal. 5.

Junaidy, Ronny K., Mahasiswa pascasarjana MIH Unsoed sebagai penulis.

Kelsen, Hans. Pengantar Teori Hukum, Nusa Media, 2009 .


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