Philosophy 375: Philosophy of Law
- Fall Semester, 2005
- Dr. Scott Kimbrough
- Office Hours: M/W 9:45-11:45 or by appointment
- Office: Council 127
- Phone: 256-7118
- Direct questions and comments to my
Last updated 10/17/05
Resources and Announcements
American society prides itself for its adherence to the rule of law. But what, exactly, is law? Is it independent of, or subservient to, morality? What principles should guide the interpretation of the law? How does legal reasoning differ, if any, from ordinary reasoning? The course explores abstract questions such as these, often in the context of specific issues such as free speech, civil liability, and criminal punishment.
- Joel Feinberg and Jules Coleman (eds.), Philosophy of Law, seventh edition, Wadsworth, 2004.
- Attendance and Participation: Attendance and participation in discussions are expected.
- Briefs (10% each): In the spirit of the adversarial relationship among lawyers, students will prepare two briefs either in favor or against propositions related to the course texts. A “brief” is a two to three page paper articulating two or three of the strongest arguments - the basis of one’s case pro or con. Students will present their arguments in class, cross-examining each other and fielding questions from the panel of judges (i.e., the rest of the class).
- Opinions and Dissents (20% for each opinion, 5% for each dissent): Two five to seven page argumentative essays or “opinions” will be assigned. In a grandiose imitation of appellate judges, panels of three students will review drafts of each others’ “opinions” and prepare a two to three page “dissent” on each draft. The final opinion will incorporate responses to the dissents. To spare you the effort of counting, note that each student will prepare a total of four dissents for a total of 20% of the course grade.
- Final Exam (20%): The exam is comprehensive and essay format. You will receive the questions in advance. The exam
is scheduled for Friday, December 9th, from 12:00-3:00pm
There is no worse academic sin than plagiarism. Plagiarism consists in copying the work of another, in whole
or in part, without citing the source. Plagiarized papers will receive a zero.
- 8/26 Natural law theory: introduction (pp.1-3), Fuller (pp.20-23), Bix recommended (pp.8-19)
- 8/29 Legal positivism: introduction (pp.4-5), Austin (pp.24-35)
- 8/31 Hart's positivism: Hart (pp.36-50)
- 9/2-9/7 Hart on law and morality: Hart (pp.50-67)
- 9/9-9/12 Fuller's reply to Hart: Fuller (pp.67-82)
- 9/16 Legal principles: Dworkin (pp.82-99), Riggs v. Palmer (pp.100-105)
- 9/19 Classic legal realism: Holmes and Frank (pp.119-127)
- 9/21 Integrity in law: Dworkin (pp.127-141)
- 9/26 Ely's critique of judicial activism (157-171)
- 9/28 Lyons' critique of originalism (172-186)
- 9/30 Scalia and Dworkin on originalism (187-203)
- 10/3 Privacy: Griswold v. CT (354-358)
- 10/5 Abortion: Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southeast PA v. Casey (359-367)
- 10/7 Guest lecture by Ernest Young on foreign law: "Foreign Law and the Denominator Problem" (handout), Roper v. Simmons (handout)
- 10/10-12 Sodomy cases: Bowers v. Hardwick (368-378) and Lawrence v. Texas (handout)
- 10/14 Free speech: Feinberg (379-394)
- 10/17 Free speech cases: Cohen v. CA, Village of Skokie v. National Socialist Party of America (pp.399-411)
- 10/19 Flag burning: Texas v. Johnson (403-411)
- 10/21 Hate speech: Gates (412-432)
- 10/24-10/26 Affirmative action: Nagel, Hill, and CA Constitution (433-455)
- 10/28 Feminist critique of the "reasonable man" standard: Scheppele (455-460), State v. Rusk (461-463)
- 10/31 Cases involving gender: Regina v. Morgan, State v. Kelly, and Michael M. v. Superior Court of Sonoma County (464-478)
- 11/2 Green on sexuality and authenticity (479-489)
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