Instructor(s): Professor E. White
Description: This is a course in the philosophy of law that approaches its subject matter through the lens of politics and political philosophy. It will involve critical discussion of classic issues and texts in political and legal philosophy from the 17th century to the present. The organizing topics are: legitimacy, justice, and the nature and moral significance of law. Special emphasis will be placed on the ways in which various philosophical conceptualizations of the human person intersect with justifications for political and legal arrangements, including distributions of rights, goods, and powers. Students will develop competence and facility over several historically influential texts in legal philosophy (from Hobbes, and Locke to Rawls, Raz, Waldron and Dworkin). Students will sharpen their analytical, reasoning and critical reading skills, and will learn to develop, evaluate, and critically reflect upon normative arguments about the law.
Evaluation: 80% final examination, 10% participation, 10% two short reaction papers (300-400 words each). Students may also opt to write an optional paper, worth 40% of their overall final grade. Exams for students electing this 40% paper option will be worth 40% of their overall final grade. This optional paper will not be eligible for the upper year writing requirement.