Spring 2009

Philosophy of Law

Listed in: Philosophy, as PHIL-24


Nishiten Shah (Section 01)


What is the law? Is law a branch of morality discoverable by ethical reflection or is it nothing more than the commands issued by whoever happens to have the most power? When judges interpret laws, is this a process of discovery or of invention? Is there an objective standard for determining whether a law has been correctly interpreted? After considering these very general questions about the nature of law, we will examine two concepts that are central to law, property rights and punishment: What is the nature and justification of the property rights that the law protects? What is the justification of punishment and is there a difference between punishing someone and merely harming him? Limited to 25 students. Spring semester. Professor Shah.