This course is available only to students in the University Honors Program.
This course is being scheduled for synchronous online instruction.
Philosophy of Law (PHIL352 [UHP only])
Prof. Amanda Trefethen
Mondays · 5:30pm–8:15pm · online
This course will introduce students to the study of philosophical topics related to law and its adjudication. Some of the questions we will address include: what is law? Is there an essential relationship between law and morality? Can there be a “right answer” in legal interpretation? Why, when, and how are we constrained by the law? And what makes the law authoritative over us? Toward this end, we will analyze the more theoretical debates between legal positivism and natural law, engage in a discussion of legal interpretive theories, and consider more specific legal and normative topics, such as the right to privacy and the right to free speech. Our readings will be drawn primarily from the historical development of the philosophy of law, including pieces by such philosophers as Thomas Aquinas, John Stuart Mill, John Austin, H.L.A. Hart, Lon Fuller, John Rawls, and Ronald Dworkin. Students will also get an introduction on how to read and analyze U.S. Supreme Court cases.