May 20, 2024  
Course Catalog 2021-2022 
Course Catalog 2021-2022 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Philosophy and Politics of Law - 20067

Students in these connected courses will study the theoretical and political underpinnings of American (and sometimes British) law. Of all the possible areas of that law, American Constitutional law admits most readily to philosophical and political inquiry; and for this reason, the courses in this connection focus much of their attention on that area. The most controversial and profound discussions of rights, of tensions between the federal government and the states, and of the roles of various branches and departments of our government are all grounded in political and philosophical theories. These theories, which Supreme Court Justices and other judges employ often in deciding cases, play a central role in these connected courses. And while the Philosophy courses employ different methodologies than do the Political Science courses, those methodologies complement each other and together provide students with a deeper and more sophisticated view of the law than they would have otherwise. These complementary approaches help students appreciate not only how our system of law actually works, but also how one might go about justifying its structure and its practices-or arguing for their reform.