Jurisprudence and the Foundation of Law
This course gives students a working knowledge of those theories of law that support various understandings of our institutions and legal system. Students will acquire a basic understanding of natural law, historicism and positivism. They will study the subsidiary theories that fall under these three main schools of thought: formalism, law as process, law and economics, legal realism, critical legal studies, and communitarianism. Students will also explore how these schools of thought offer different answers to fundamental questions about the principles underlying our institutions and legal system: (1) the nature of obligation; (2) the relationship or lack of relationship between law and morality; (3) the purpose of adjudication; (4) the role of the judge; (5) the purpose of civil and criminal sanctions; (6) theories of legal interpretation and sanctions; (6) theories of legal interpretation and discourse; and (7) competing theories of the nation-state insofar as it impacts our understanding of adjudication.
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