PHIL 311: Philosophy of Law

PHIL 311-001: Philosophy of Law
(Spring 2022)

01:30 PM to 02:45 PM TR

Planetary Hall 126

Section Information for Spring 2022

Law structures our lives and the world we inhabit in myriad ways. It regulates how we interact with others; where we can live, go to school, or go to work; what kinds of things we can own and sell; and how we can be sanctioned if we act outside the law. In this course, we will consider a variety of philosophical questions raised by life within the American legal system. The course will first briefly cover classic conceptual questions about the nature of law generally and its relation to morality, and then turn its focus to more contemporary philosophical concerns in specific areas of America law including public law (constitutional law and criminal law), private law (property law, tort law, and contract law), and the professional ethics of lawyers. Students will be challenged to charitably read and explain a variety of philosophical theories, concepts, and arguments as well as develop and defend their own positions. Dialogue and writing will be the primary modes of learning and evaluation. This course does not include lectures. Instead, students will be expected to develop understanding of readings in dialogue during class meetings and one-on-on conversations with their peers outside of class. They will be challenged to understand and engage empathetically with positions they deeply disagree with. They will have the chance to hone their ability to write engagingly for a broad public audience with a series of targeted writing exercises, multiple paper drafts, and regular opportunities for instructor and peer feedback.


Course Information from the University Catalog

Credits: 3

Investigation of theories of natural law, legal positivism, and legal realism as they pertain to some of the central philosophical questions about law. Limited to three attempts.
Recommended Prerequisite: 3 hours of PHIL or permission of instructor.
Schedule Type: Lecture
This course is graded on the Undergraduate Regular scale.

The University Catalog is the authoritative source for information on courses. The Schedule of Classes is the authoritative source for information on classes scheduled for this semester. See the Schedule for the most up-to-date information and see Patriot web to register for classes.