Philosophy of Law
Course Number: LAW 664
In the practice of law, according to Karl Llewellyn, “Ideals without technique are a mess. But technique without ideals is a menace.” This seminar aims to provide a vocabulary of ideals to help answer a question that arises throughout the practice of legal technique: What is Law? The course begins with a short history of the rule of law as an ideal in the United States. It turns to the development of various theories of law, framed as a continuing debate among competing conceptions of law. It then integrates the application of legal theory to legal practice in several areas including constitutional law, contract law, criminal law, property law, and tort law, depending on student interest. In addition to seminar discussion, students produce short commentaries on current issues and a research paper or other project.