Jurisprudence

Credit Hours: 2

This course is an introduction to the philosophy of law. The first half will deal with the descriptive problem of what the law is. Is the law reducible to sociological facts — in particular power? Is it reducible to ethics? Is it something completely different — neither sociological nor ethical? Readings will consist of the classics in the field, including John Austin, H.L.A. Hart, Hans Kelsen, Ronald Dworkin and the American Legal Realists. The second half of the course will deal with normative problems of what the law ought to be. Should the law promote economic efficiency? Should it promote some other conception of justice? Special emphasis will be placed on economic and corrective justice accounts of tort law. Readings will consist of more recent discussions of these and other topics, including material by Richard Posner, Jules Coleman, Ernest Weinrib, Jeremy Waldron and David Brink. May be 2 or 3 credits.