Law 217 - Legal Philosophy

David Beglin

David Beglin

Law & Philosophy Fellow
B.A. University of Rhode Island, 2010
M.A. University of California, Riverside, 2014
Ph.D. University of California, Riverside, 2018

Course Description:

This course will provide an introduction to some of the central issues in the philosophy of law. We will specifically consider questions in analytical jurisprudence (the study of the nature of law) but will also discuss issues in normative jurisprudence (that is, how ought legal institutions be designed and what are the justifications for regulating behavior through law). For example, we will ask what distinguishes law from other governance techniques? What connection, if any, there is or ought to be between law and morality? What type of authority, if any, is essential to the law? Do citizens have a duty to obey the law, and if so, under what circumstances? When, if ever, is paternalistic interference by the state into the lives of its citizens justified? How can rules give us reasons? What, if anything, justifies punishment by the state? We will explore all these questions by critically examining some of the main historically influential schools of thought, including legal positivism, natural law theory, and critical theories of law.         

Course Learning Outcomes:

As a result of taking this course, students will be able to:

1.Demonstrate a familiarity and competency with central issues in the philosophy of law, including foundational conceptual and ethical issues.
2.Develop and sharpen analytical skills, particularly as those skills pertain to reading, writing, and assessing arguments.
3.Synthesize philosophical insights gained from the readings and course discussions in relation to current practices in the law.
4.Have an understanding of the relationship between central conceptual issues and ethical issues (e.g., how our understanding of what a contract is might bear on ethical issues about how contract law should be arranged)

Course Information:
​Faculty Term Course Section ​Schedule ​Units Requisite Satisfies SAW
David Beglin 20S 217 LEC 1 MW 10:35 AM - 12:00 PM 3.0 No Yes