University of Cambridge, LLM
King's College, London, LLB
Kant, philosophy of law, ethics, social and political philosophy, post-Kantian German philosophy
PHIL 29200-03/29300-03 Junior/Senior Tutorial
Topic: The Nature of Law
Why should we think legal rules have any authority in the first place? And if so, what kind of practical authority do they have? In this course, we will cover the key debates in philosophy of law that have shaped the discipline since the second half of the 20th century. These debates center around the relation between positive law and morality and the authority of legal rules. We will read some of the most influential works contemporary legal theory, including work by H.L.A. Hart, Ronald Dworkin, Joseph Raz, Julie Dickson, John Finnis, Lon Fuller, Gustav Radbruch and Mark Murphy, as well as recent responses to their arguments. In considering the relation between law and morality, we will also consider such questions as: what is necessary for a social rule to be action-guiding? is it sensible to speak of several types of normativity? what is the nature of legal ‘validity’? and does the rule of law (or ‘legality’) have any intrinsic value? This course would be of interest to students who want a grasp of contemporary issues in philosophy of law as a background to advanced work in moral, social and political philosophy, as well as to students interested in graduate work in legal philosophy. The course will also provide helpful background knowledge to students considering law school.
Meets with Jr/Sr section. Open only to intensive-track and philosophy majors. No more than two tutorials may be used to meet program requirements.