This course examines fundamental philosophical issues in the philosophy of law, including (most of) the following: The Natural Law/Positivism debate; contests of legality and morality; the duty to obey law; legal rights and individual well-being, and constitutional interpretation. We will read and critically assess classic and recent sources on these topics, debate the merits of philosophical arguments regarding them, and consider the application of philosophical theory of law to issues in legal practice. Although the course has no prerequisites, students who enroll will find it very useful to have taken at least one prior philosophy course dealing with law, political philosophy, or ethics. Students may meet course requirements a) by successfully completing two essay-type exams or b) by writing a 15-page term paper (in which a thesis connected to our readings is announced early and defended by argument in the course of the essay).
TEXT: Arguing About Law, eds. Kavanagh and Oberdiek (Routledge, 2008) (paperback).