Philosophy MA/BSc/MA(SocSci)

Philosophy of Law PHIL4064

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course introduces students to the Philosophy of Law. In the first part, it focusses on major general theories of the nature of law. In the second part, it discusses one or two more specialised topics, the selection of which may vary from year to year.


16 x 1hr lectures; 4 x 1hr seminars as scheduled on MyCampus. This is one of the Honours options in Philosophy and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on MyCampus.

Excluded Courses





Essay (3000 words) - 75%

Short written piece (1000 words) - 25%

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. Where, exceptionally, reassessment on Honours courses is required to satisfy professional/accreditation requirements, only the overall course grade achieved at the first attempt will contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ Allow students to gain a detailed understanding of central theories about the nature of law.

■ Provide students with the opportunity to apply concepts and theories encountered in their previous philosophical training to selected philosophical issues raised by the law.

■ Encourage students to hone their analytical and critical skills, by considering and developing key arguments and positions.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Formulate clearly, and explain, central philosophical theories of the nature of law.

■ Critically evaluate the merits of those theories.

■ Competently deploy concepts acquired in the study of other philosophical subdisciplines (e.g. metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of language, moral philosophy) in the analysis of philosophical questions raised by the law.

■ Articulate complex arguments rigorously, in written form.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.