Undergraduate Module Descriptor

PHL2061: Philosophy of Law

This module descriptor refers to the 2019/0 academic year.

Module Content

Syllabus Plan

We begin by examining the classic debate between legal positivists and natural law theorists, focussing on the work of figures such as H.L.A. Hart, Ronald Dworkin, Joseph Raz, John Finnis, and Lon Fuller.

Building on this, we survey the main theories of legal reasoning, judicial interpretation, and the evidential character of precedent, particularly in light of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s celebrated analysis of rule-following.

Finally, we investigate the enduring debate over the justification of state punishment, focussing on key retributivist, consequentialist, and abolitionist arguments.

Learning and Teaching

This table provides an overview of how your hours of study for this module are allocated:

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

...and this table provides a more detailed breakdown of the hours allocated to various study activities:

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activity11Eleven one-hour lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activity11Eleven one-hour tutorials
Guided Independent Study40Assigned readings associated with each tutorial
Guided Independent Study88Preparation of Assigned Essays

Online Resources

This module has online resources available via ELE (the Exeter Learning Environment).