Philosophy of Law - PHI00059M

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  • Department: Philosophy
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. James Clarke
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2019-20

Module summary

This module will introduce students to some key debates, positions, and arguments in the philosophy of law.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2019-20

Module aims

This module aims to:

1) introduce students to key debates, positions, and arguments in the philosophy of law;

2) to enable students to develop their skills in critical analysis, argument, and communication.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students should have an in-depth and systematic understanding of some key debates, positions, and arguments in the philosophy of law.

They should also be able to:

  • analyse complex areas of knowledge, displaying critical awareness
  • synthesise information and ideas from a variety of sources at the forefront of the discipline
  • evaluate research critically
  • show originality in the discussion and evaluation of ideas from the philosophical literature in developing their own arguments

Students should show the ability to work autonomously and self-critically on an extended essay that goes beyond the core framework that is provided in lectures and seminars.

Module content

This module will introduce students to some key debates, positions, and arguments in the philosophy of law. Topics considered will include some or all of the following: the nature of law; the debate between natural law theory and legal positivism; the nature of rights (Hohfeld's analysis of rights); the choice and benefit theories of rights; human rights, justifications of human rights.

Assessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
4000 Word Essay
N/A 100

Special assessment rules

None

Additional assessment information

  • The formative topic proposal and reading list are to be submitted on Monday, Week 7 of the Autumn Term.
  • The formative essay plan is to be submitted on Monday, Week 10 of the Autumn Term.
  • The summative essay should be submitted by 12 noon on Monday, Week 2 of the Spring Term.

Reassessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
4000 Word Essay
N/A 100

Module feedback

  • Oral feedback on the formative topic proposal will be given within two weeks of submission.
  • Oral feedback will be given on the essay plan within one week of submission.
  • Students will receive written feedback on their summative work within four weeks of submission.
  • Students will also have the opportunity to discuss their feedback during the module tutor's regular feedback and advice hours.

Indicative reading

The following list is indicative:

Alexy, R. The Argument from Injustice: A Reply to Legal Positivism (Oxford: OUP, 2002).
Bix, B. Jurisprudence: Theory and Context (London: Sweet & Maxwell, 2012).
Finnis, J. Natural Law and Natural Rights (Oxford: OUP, 2011).
Fuller, L.L. The Morality of Law (New Haven: Yale, 1969).
Hart, H.L.A. The Concept of Law (Oxford: OUP, 2012).
Simmons, N.E. Central Issues in Jurisprudence (London: Sweet & Maxwell, 2010).



The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.