POLS 216 Philosophy of Law

Spring, Fall

We believe in the rule of law, but what is law and what is the nature of rules? Is the ultimate source of law nature, God, or human agreement? What is the relation of law and morality? How does law promote human freedom and social order? What do we do when those concerns conflict? The law assumes that human beings are responsible for their actions unless they aren’t. How do we know when they are or are not? What is the purpose of punishment? What is the role of the jury, and can jurors fulfill it? Does our society live up to its ideal of equality before the law? What is the professional responsibility of the lawyer, and why is the legal profession so controversial? This course examines a multitude of interesting and puzzling questions that drive us toward a philosophic consideration of law. Not offered every year.