This course studies the theory of law. It examines fundamental and recurrung subjects of the field, including principally the relationship between law and morality, along with further links between law and justice, power and authority. Some of the questions addressed include: Must valid laws possess some moral value? Are laws the commands of the powerful, or the rules of self-government, or something else? Does law have any legitimate claim to obedience? What is the justification for legal punishment? Students will read the work of canonical and contemporary legal theorists including Austin, Hart, Aquinas, Finnis, Dworkin, MacKinnon, and others. The course also involves applying these theoretical writings to concrete legal disputes and debates, primarily through analysis of constitutional provisions, judicial decisions and legislation. (Not offered 2018-19).
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