Categories: Legal Theory and Jurisprudence
This seminar will take up fundamental jurisprudential questions about the nature and purpose of law, legal systems, and legal institutions. We will study major theories of law, including natural law theory, positivism, law as integrity, and realism. And we will consider issues in legal interpretation and adjudication.
We will examine and evaluate how philosophers and lawyers have answered questions such as What is law?, What is the relationship between law and morality?, and What is precedent? We will also consider the relationship between legal theory and practice, by considering how theories about the nature and purpose of law can inform and support arguments about how specific legal sources should be interpreted and how particular disputes should be decided.
Students will be required to complete a substantial research paper, to present a draft of their paper to the class in a workshop setting, and to read and give feedback on their classmates’ paper drafts.
Two or more prior philosophy courses are strongly recommended for this course.