Courses 2011 - 2012
LAW A 595 Jurisprudence
Credits: 2-4, Max 4
A survey of the classic questions in jurisprudence, the study of the nature, norms, and justifications of legal systems. Questions addressed include: How do judges decide cases? Do legal rules or standards constrain judicial decision-making? What makes a rule (or norm) a rule of law? Is morality legally binding regardless of whether it has been enacted into a law by a legislature? How should cases be decided when there is no controlling "law"? Can there be "right" answers to legal disputes or is legal reasoning essentially indeterminate? What is distinctive about judicial decision-making? The course will cover the major twentieth- and twenty-first century schools of jurisprudential thought, especially American Legal Realism, Natural Law, Legal Positivism, and Critical Legal Theory. No familiarity with either jurisprudence or philosophy will be presupposed, though some readings may be philosophically demanding.
Course Sections and Instructors