On the case of Bill Cosby's release from prison, I heard the news commentator on television (CNN) saying, quote, "we don't have justice system in this country, we have legal system". This raises the following question: Isn't the legal system built to implement justice (at least in the minds of those who participated in forming the legal system) or is there another logic, or better to say, alongside the acclaimed logic of justice, other social considerations to have been prevalent? Ali , Tehran, Iran

There is something going on in your interesting question that is other than the distinction between a positive legal justice, and another “social” or perhaps even natural or transcendental justice, behind the positive law. The reason is that it is also possible to say, exactly as you did, that the US legal system has been designed to try to get us justice, we hope, where and when it is to be had and to the extent that it can be had. We can say that what the legal system gives us is not always perfect justice for all parties, as one might very well think in the Cosby case, for obvious reasons. There were over fifty allegations made against Cosby, in addition to the ones that resulted in the cases leading to Cosby’s convictions in Pennsylvania. The mountain of indirect and other evidence is more than enough to convince reasonable people that Cosby should indeed have been convicted on at least some of the charges that were overturned by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 2021. But the Court took into...

If we have no free will, then is the entire legal system redundant since no one can be held accountable for anything since no one has control over their own actions?

Consider two otherwise identical worlds, in one of which determinism is true, and in the other of which it is not. In the second world there is freedom of the will. What difference does this make to the legal system and the moral system? Ex hypothesi, none. When I wrote that if hard determinism is true, moral systems cannot be corrupt, I was describing Stephen's view, not my own! Hence I think the apparent contradiction that he detects. Here's another way of putting the point I wanted to make. We can imagine a deterministic world in which people are thinking good thoughts and doing good things, and making good laws. The world of law and morality seems to have survived the loss of freedom! In this world, some philosophers believe in determinism, and some in freewill. But of course the having of those beliefs is part of a deterministically produced system. There could be incidentally be a deterministic world that is morally and legally better than a world with freewill. Consider the worst world imaginable...

Your question is a very important one and has been very important historically. It has driven quite a lot of discussion about freewill. Alas, I do not agree with Stephen's answer. If hard determinism is true, which is to say that we have no free will, then, Stephen says, the legal system would be corrupt. So also would be the moral systems, including the one that allows him to use the concept corrupt . Corruption is moral depravity, and if determinism is true and it undercuts law and morals, then there is no such thing as corruption. Those like me who are compatibilists take the view that the truth of determinism would have no consequences for law and morals. The classical compatibilist makes a distinction between those actions that are caused, and those that are coerced, though this distinction is often expressed in different pairs of terms. If an action is caused and subject to scientific law, it is not unfree unless it is also coerced. One would want to include of course psychological self-coercion,...
Law

Just what is the difference between a lawyer and a legal philosopher? Does the legal philosopher care more for metaethics and less for social norms?

A lawyer is someone who practises law, or perhaps studies it, an attorney (in the US) or a barrister or solicitor (in the UK), someone who might have little or no interest in the philosophy of law, or in the the concept of law in the abstract. A legal philosopher, on the other hand, is a philosopher, often or typically today an academic person, one who studies and perhaps contributes to the philosophy of law. The philosophy of law is one of the subject areas within philosophy (such as the philosophy of science, the philosophy of religion, ethics, the theory of knowledge, metaphysics, and so on) in which one studies the question 'What is law?' - to be distinguished of course from the question 'What is the law ?' - which is not a philosophical question at all. Or a philosopher of the law might be interested in the question what it is that makes law "valid". There is little doubt what the laws were in say 1935 Germany, e.g. the Nuremberg laws prohibiting the marriage of citizens ("Staatsangehoerigen")...