Philosophy of Law

Academic Year: 
ECTS Credits: 
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.

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

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

Assessment will be based on short (max. 1 page) reading reflections that have to be submitted prior to classes (at least 4 throughout the term, 5 for legal credit), and either a 2000 word essay (2500 for legal credit) at the end of the term, or two extended reading reflections.