PG 348

Philosophy of Law

This course is concerned with the nature of law and the relationship between law and morality. The course is centered on questions like the following: What is the connection between law and morality? Is it morally wrong to break the law? Is breaking the law sometimes morally permissible or even morally required? Should morality be legally enforced? To what extent, if at all, should legal decisions be influenced by moral beliefs? What are the relationships between legal, constitutional, moral, and political rights? How can legal punishment be morally justified? While pursuing answers to these questions through the work of leading legal philosophers, students read a number of actual court cases and discuss specific issues like hate speech, homosexuality, and capital punishment, among others.

Prerequisites: One previous course in Philosophy, or one course in Political Theory (PG 104, PG 340-348).