Jurisprudence

An examination of classic jurisprudential questions in and around the theory of adjudication: the theory of how judges actually do decide cases and how they ought to decide them. These questions include: Do legal rules really constrain judicial decision-making? What makes a rule (or norm) a rule of the legal system? Are principles of morality legally binding even when such principles have not been enacted into a law by a legislature? (Relatedly, are there objective principles of morality?) Where no legal norm controls a case, how ought judges to decide that case? Can there be "right" answers to legal disputes, even when informed judges and lawyers disagree about the answer? Are there principles or methods of legal reasoning that constrain judicial decision-making, or is legal reasoning essentially indeterminate, such that a skillful judge can justify more than one outcome for any given dispute? Is judicial decision-making really distinct from political decision-making of the sort legislators engage in? Readings drawn exclusively from major twentieth-century schools of thought, especially American Legal Realism (e.g., Karl Llewellyn, Jerome Frank), Natural Law (e.g., Ronald Dworkin, John Finnis), and Legal Positivism (e.g., H.L.A. Hart, Joseph Raz). No familiarity with either jurisprudence or philosophy will be presupposed, though some readings will be philosophically demanding, and the course will venture in to (and explain) cognate philosophical issues in philosophy of language and metaethics as they are relevant to the core jurisprudential questions.

Class Details

Meeting Days Time Location
Tuesday, Wednesday 12:30 - 1:45 pm TNH 3.127
Evaluation Method Date Time Alpha Range Room
Floating

Additional Information

Course Type

Faculty

Leiter, Brian R Leiter, Brian R