PHIL 216 Philosophy of Law


This course addresses puzzling questions of agency and responsibility arising from legal norms and principles. What’s the difference between justifying and excusing a killing? Does the law of self-defense discriminate against women? Does mental illness negate responsibility or should the insanity defense be abolished? What is the distinction between Act and Intention? Attempted crimes are punished less severely than completed ones: do unsuccessful criminals deserve leniency because of circumstances beyond their control? Should ignorance of the law sometimes be an excuse? Can committing a crime sometimes be the right thing to do? What is the purpose of punishment?