Law and Philosophy Workshop

Brian Leiter
Martha Nussbaum
Matthew X. Etchemendy

2016-17 Topic: "Current Issues in General Jurisprudence"

The Workshop will expose students to cutting-edge work in "general jurisprudence," that part of philosophy of law concerned with the central questions about the nature of law, the relationship between law and morality, and the nature of legal reasoning. We will be particularly interested in the way in which work in philosophy of language, metaethics, metaphysics, and other cognate fields of philosophy has influenced recent scholarly debates that have arisen in the wake of H.L.A. Hart's seminal The Concept of Law (1961). Students who have taken Leiter's "Jurisprudence I" course at the law school are welcome to enroll. Students who have not taken Jurisprudence I need to understand that the several two-hour sessions of the Workshop in the early fall will be required; they will involve reading through and discussing Chapters 1-6 of Hart's The Concept of Law and some criticisms by Ronald Dworkin. This will give all students an adequate background for the remainder of the year. Students who have taken jurisprudence courses elsewhere may contact Prof. Leiter to see if they can be exempted from these sessions based on their prior study. After the prepatory sessions, we will generally meet for one hour the week prior to our outside speakers to go over their essay and to refine questions for the speaker. Confirmed speakers so far include Leslie Green, Stephen Perry, Frederick Schauer, Natalie Stojlar, Mark Murphy, and Kevin Toh. Students will write a 20- or 25-page paper on a topic chosen in consultation with the instructors.