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 principles governing the interpretation of statutes, 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.
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
- for both Audit and Grade, students will be asked to enter comments on the readings in Perusall
for Grade, students will be asked to write and present a short (500 word) answer to a question related to a reading during the term, and to develop a longer answer or essay (1500 words) by the end of the term