I earnesty appreciate https://law.stackexchange.com/questions/43507/limited-liability-and-moral-hazard is interdisciplinary.

What is legal theory? https://www.geo.sunysb.edu/esp/files/scientific-method.html

Is it not an explanation of why the law is the way it is and how it should be?

My question was considered off-topic and I need help understanding why. What is legal theory as the term is used here https://law.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic?

Is legal theory different from jurisprudence?

2 Answers 2


"Why a law is what it is"? and "What the law should be?" are off-topic.1 Such questions are usually migrated to Politics.SE, or closed as "Primarily opinion-based."

Legal theory is mentioned in https://law.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic as:

  • Legal terms and language, doctrines and theory

I.e., on Law.SE on-topic legal theory are questions about law as an art, not questions about specific laws.

(Regarding the topic question in particular: You note in a comment that questions of "moral hazard" in markets are probably best suited to Economics.SE. I agree.)

1 "Legislative intent" is the closest category that has been deemed on-topic.

  • I beg your pardon? What is legal theory in itself? Aug 11, 2019 at 16:55
  • @GeorgeNtoulos: Whatever people define it to be. I have (hopefully successfully) explained what it is in terms of on-topic questions on Law.SE.
    – feetwet Mod
    Aug 11, 2019 at 17:04
  • My question though was not what is on-topic on Law.SE but. Rather what is legal theory in itself? Like asking what is a Constitution or what is a Limited Company. So you are in fact answering a en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man of my question. You made my question something you like more or is easier to answer and answered that question. You did not answer the question as it is. Aug 11, 2019 at 17:34
  • @GeorgeNtoulos: On Stack Exchanges the purpose of Meta sites is to discuss the underlying site itself. If your question is about law, rather than about Law.SE, post it on the main site.
    – feetwet Mod
    Aug 11, 2019 at 19:02
  • My issue here is that it is very easy to judge ad hoc something and say it is off topic. Now it is harder to explain why. I am questioning the enquiry (law.stackexchange.com/questions/43507/…) being deemed off topic. Thence I am asking what is Legal theory. The problem is the underlying site here and not law in itself. Aug 11, 2019 at 21:52
  • 1
    @GeorgeNtoulos: The question is "off-topic" for the reason stated in the Hold notice. (I.e., "This question does not appear to be about law, within the scope defined in the help center.") The questions asked in your post reduce to (a) "Why is the law this way," and (b) "What would be the relative advantages of the law being a different way?" Now re-read my answer above^.
    – feetwet Mod
    Aug 11, 2019 at 23:10
  • @feetweek on Law.SE on-topic legal theory are questions about law as an art, not questions about specific laws. You are not answering what legal theory is. Depending on what legal theory is or not my question is indeed on topic. Aug 11, 2019 at 23:14
  • 5
    @GeorgeNtoulos: I suspect that my post here is the extent of the answer you will get on "what legal theory is" insofar as Law.SE (and your question) is concerned. Of course it is more work to explain (and debate) why some particular question is off-topic than it is for the community to vote it as such and thereby invite the author to reformulate it to fit (if possible). It can be frustrating at first to understand the "scope" of Stack Exchanges and how those are applied in practice. But stick around the community a bit and you'll likely become more comfortable with it.
    – feetwet Mod
    Aug 11, 2019 at 23:19

I agree that "What the law should be?" is always off topic, and only partially agree that "Why a law is what it is" is off topic, as opinion-based. Sometimes "Why is the law X" has a factual basis, for example this statute encodes a particular common law principle, or reflects a Supreme Court ruling. The legal concept of "negligence" did not just materialize out of nothing, and historical account of the development of that legal concept is fact-based (on topic), not opinion-based (off-topic).

Some aspects of jurisprudence are on the borderline. There is a legal concept of unconscionability which is wielded in contract law, and it is ultimately a matter of opinion whether a contract clause is conscionable. We have not deemed that a question about unconsionability is OT per se as a matter of opinion, but in fact it is typically a cover for an opinion, that such-and-such requirement should shock any right-thinking jurist. Theoretically, the opinion might be converted into a factual statement by pointing to case law, though this is rarely done.

As for the deleted question, to be blunt, the question is incoherent (original and edited versions), and the final version it's not even an opinion question. I cannot for the life of me figure out what the actual question is. Can you state the question as a single interrogative sentence?

  • What is the actual difference of legal theory and jurisprudence? Sep 7, 2019 at 18:30
  • Not even an iota.
    – user6726
    Sep 7, 2019 at 19:18
  • I think punctuation and diacretics are smaller than ι. A period,an accent, a spirit are all smaller than a iota. We digress if there is no difference between jurisprudence and legal theory. How can the wikipedia article say that jurisprudence seeks to explain law; "what is law, and what should it be?" the on-topic help say that one can ask about legal theory and "Why a law is what it is"? and "What the law should be?" being considered off-topic.Something out of these 4 must be wrong. Encyclopedias give definitions. So either jurisprudence is not legal theory or something is wrong with Law.stac Sep 7, 2019 at 19:45

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