Fall 2021

The Rule of Law

Listed in: Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought, as LJST-102


Lawrence R. Douglas (Section 01)


The law provides one of the most sophisticated and complex means by which social conflicts can be resolved and social behavior controlled. And yet the law can, itself, become a source of fresh conflict. This course will consider the nature and limits of law as a tool of social control. We will address such questions as: What is the "rule of law" and how can law claim to stand above the people who enforce it? Do people have a moral obligation to follow the law? If so, where does it come from, and what are its limits? Are their circumstances in which disobeying the law is justified, or even required? What is the relationship between rule-based governance and justice? We will hazard answers to these questions through a close reading of works of thinkers including John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Jeremy Bentham, ML King Jr., Henry David Thoreau, and Hannah Arendt.  

Limited to 30 students. Fall Semester. Professor Douglas.



Attention to Issues of Social Justice, Attention to Writing


2020-21: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2021