Courses 2008 - 2009
LAW E 519
Philosophy Of Law
Philosophy of law is concerned with a number of very different theoretical issues arising in connection with law. Such issues range from the abstract and conceptual (e.g., what properties must something have to count as a law in a legal system?) to more substantive and normative (e.g., why is it morally permissible for the state to punish people for disobeying certain rules). This course surveys a number of these issues, which might (or might not) include: (1) How should the Constitution be interpreted? (2) Is the doctrine of judicial supremacy legitimate? (3) What acts are legitimately criminalized by the law? (4) What justifies the state’s use of force to inflict discomfort on people in the form of institutionalized punishment? (5) To what extent should the law protect property rights, if at all, and why? (6) Do judges have lawmaking authority? And should they? (7) Should the law of contract be grounded in moral principles concerning promise-making? (8) Is it legitimate for the state to tax people for the purpose of redistributing income? Grading will be by final examination, or by paper, at the student's option.
Not offered this academic year.