PHIL 196 - First Year Seminar
Winter 2015, Section 001 - Philosophy of Law and Legal Theory
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is (see other Sections below)
Subject: Philosophy (PHIL)
Department: LSA Philosophy
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Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
Advisory Prerequisites:
Enrollment restricted to first-year students, including those with sophomore standing.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:


What is a law? What provides a law with its legitimacy or authority? Is there a correlation between morality and law or are these two areas of inquiry entirely separate and distinct? What is a right? Does the existence of a right imply a corresponding duty? Can a right exist without a way to exercise that right? Is there only one way to properly understand a law or are there many such ways? Is law designed for the benefit of all or is it designed the benefit of the dominant group? Should law be used to improve society? Can morality be legislated? Who is the ideal subject of the law? Is the concept of an ideal subject of the law a contradiction in terms? Should law be used to regulate the private lives of its citizens? On what basis is criminal liability assessed? Why are attempted crimes punished? Is private law based entirely on the concept of a contract? If so, is this justified? This course will examine all of the above questions and tensions in a classroom environment designed to facilitate robust philosophical dialogue. We will read primary texts in the philosophy of law designed to provide students with an overview of both the historical and the contemporary issues in the field.

Course Requirements:

Course requirements will include regular reading analyses, one paper and two exams.

Intended Audience:

The intended audience is anyone interested in a rigorous introductory survey of the philosophy of law, including but not limited to pre-law students.

Class Format:

The Socratic method of teaching (question and answer) will be employed, enhanced by brief opening lectures on the assigned reading for the day.


PHIL 196 - First Year Seminar
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
 In Person
TuTh 2:30PM - 4:00PM
002 (SEM)
 In Person
MW 2:30PM - 4:00PM

Textbooks/Other Materials

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