Philosophy of Law


This course examines topics including the nature of law, the relationship of law and morals, the nature of legal reasoning, punishment, and the obligation to obey law.


What you can learn.

  • Identify how different philosophers have regarded the nature of law
  • Explore the relation between legal requirements and morality
  • Discuss how (and whether) criminal punishment is justified
  • Read and analyze philosophical texts
  • Evaluate philosophical arguments and positions

About this course:

This course explores systematic accounts of the nature, purpose, justification, and limits of criminal punishment. We'll begin with a survey of modern liberal and utilitarian thinkers, before diving into the deeply skeptical accounts found in Nietzsche and Foucault. Finally we'll turn to 20th (and 21st) century analytic philosophy's attempts to provide a retributive justification of punishment. Transferable for UC Credit. 
One course in philosophy or consent of instructor.

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