PHIL 578 - Topics in Philosophy of Law
Section: 001 Language and the Law
Term: WN 2013
Subject: Philosophy (PHIL)
Department: LSA Philosophy
Waitlist Capacity:
Advisory Prerequisites:
Graduate standing.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

This seminar looks at several issues in the quickly growing literature on the interactions between law and language. Legal rules and legal texts must, of course, be in natural language. But given that vagueness, ambiguity, and context-sensitivity are pervasive in natural language, what does that mean for the interpretation of such rules and texts? Relatedly, are vagueness, ambiguity, and so on (perhaps unavoidable) defects in legal writings, or do they serve some valuable purposes of their own? In addition, much use of language carries presuppositions, implicatures, and other types of content that go beyond semantic content. How do these figure in the interpretation of legal rules and texts? Finally, turning to criminal law, how should we understand so-called ‘language crimes’, such as threats, solicitations, and perjury? Throughout the seminar, we will be using resources from contemporary philosophy of language and linguistics to address these and related questions. In particular, a recurring theme of the seminar will be the consequences of different views about the semantics-pragmatics boundary for questions about the law.

PHIL 578 - Topics in Philosophy of Law
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
Th 4:00PM - 6:30PM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.
Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

Click the button below to view historical syllabi for PHIL 578 (UM login required)

View Historical Syllabi
The CourseProfile (ART) system, supported by the U-M Provost’s 3rd Century Initiative through a grant to the Digital Innovation Greenhouse, provides additional information about: course enrollments; academic terms and instructors; student academic profiles (school/college, majors), and previous, concurrent, and subsequent course enrollments.

CourseProfile (ART)