Course Description

601:648. Philosophical Foundations of the Law (3 credits)


Every 1L course raises a host of philosophical questions that cannot be adequately pursued in an introductory setting. This course will examine the theoretical underpinnings of and/or theoretical issues arising from the bodies of law that are covered in the first-year curriculum: torts, contracts, property, criminal law, constitutional law, and civil procedure. The readings will highlight philosophical debates surrounding each subject. Questions explored may include, e.g., the role of corrective justice in torts; whether contracts are based on promises; the centrality of the right to exclude in property; the place of desert in criminal punishment; the relevance of original public meaning to constitutional interpretation; and the necessity of procedure to justice, among others. While the material covered will be philosophical, no prior background in philosophy will be assumed. Students can expect to sharpen their analytical skills and gain a deeper understanding of the law.