Political Science | American Law & Theory (3 cr)
Y675 | 3454 | Failer


This will be a seminar in kind of moral and political philosophy that asks
basic questions about the nature and character of law.  Among our central
questions will be:  What is law?  What is (are) its function(s)?  What makes
law authoritative?  Why should we obey the law?  Are there right answers to
legal questions?  Traditionally, there have been two schools of
jurisprudence that answer these questions in two distinct ways: natural law
and positivism.  In this seminar, we will compare these canonical approaches
to basic problems in legal theory, but we will augment those studies with
analyses of some of American legal theory's original contributions to these
discussions.  In particular, we will look to the contributions of legal
realism, critical legal studies (including critical race and feminist
jurisprudence), and constitutional theory.  Where appropriate, we will also
use legal cases to help evaluate and clarify the theoretical debates.