Philosophy of Law

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Course Open to: 
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Course Description: 

The course offers an introduction to some central issues in the philosophy of law. These include questions concerning the nature and content of the law, the relationship between law and morality, the question of whether there is an obligation to obey the law, and the question of what justifies punishment. We will also look at the role of knowledge and evidence in legal theory as well as some ethical problems for the legal profession.

Learning Outcomes: 

By the end of the course, students will gain:

  • an understanding of the philosophical underpinnings of some of the problems that arise in legal theory
  • the ability to deploy the philosophical techniques and argumentative strategies that can be used to discuss those problems
  • the ability to explain the strengths and weaknesses of different positions
  • the transferable skill of formulating and evaluating arguments for and against various positions, both orally and in writing

Students taking the class for credit will be assessed in the following way:

  1. Attendance and participation: 10%
  2. Quality of reading reflections: 15%
  3. Written assignment(s): 75%

The course will not rely on prior knowledge of philosophy, and is open to students of philosophy, law or any other subject.

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