SH29 Philosophy of Law

Law has a pervasive presence in our lives, and has often been thought, even by non-philosophers, to be in need of a philosophical analysis or even justification. A number of general theories about the nature of law have been proposed to satisfy this theoretical need – the topic of the first half of this course. Beyond the general question about its own nature, law also raises a host of more specific philosophical questions, about causation, intention, responsibility, evidence, defeasible reasoning, obligation, and the semantics and pragmatics of language, to mention just a few. In the second part of this course, we will discuss theories of responsibility and punishment, as well as epistemological questions concerning the use of evidence in a trial.

Course lecturer:  Prof Stephan Leuenberger
Semester:  1
Lecture hour & venue:  See Honours timetable.

Preliminary reading: Scott J. Shapiro, Legality, Harvard University Press, 2011

Teaching resources for this course will be made available on the Philosophy Moodle site.