Course Code
PHIL 0220
Course Type
Subject Credit
Course Availability

Jurisprudence demands thinking in an analytical and critical way about the nature and the importance of legal norms, legal institutions, and legal reasoning. This course provides students with an opportunity to read some contemporary classics in jurisprudence, and use them to reflect upon foundational questions about law. In particular, the structure of the course requires students to read all the chapters, and the Postscript, of H.L.A. Hart’s The Concept of Law – one of the most important works of 20th century legal philosophy.

The reading list and the essay questions are devised to help students to critically engage with Hart’s three “three recurrent issues”: (i) how does law differ from, and how is it related to, orders backed by threats?; (ii) how does legal obligation differ from, and how is it related to, moral obligation?; and (iii) what are rules and to what extent is law an affair of rules?

The eight tutorials focus on the following connected topics: (1) Laws and commands; (2) Law and coercion; (3) Law and the internal point of view; (4) The foundations of a legal system; (5) Hard cases and judicial discretion; (6) Theoretical disagreements about law; (7) Law and morality; and (8) What is law?. The order of the tutorials is designed to facilitate students’ reflection upon the interplay between specific problems of jurisprudence and the so-called “methodology problem” in jurisprudence.