Instructors: Mitch Berman and Larry Sager
|Thursday||3:30 pm–5:20 pm||JON 6.203|
This course presents an unusual structure for student course work at the UT Law School. The basic idea is this: In the course of the semester, six leading scholars will present papers that will be the focus of the course. Students will spend two weeks considering each paper. In the first week - the "Seminar" week - students will meet with Professor Berman and Dean Sager in a traditional seminar format to discuss the paper and its background. In the second week - the "Colloquium" week - the scholar who wrote the paper will be present, and the students will be joined by members of the Law School faculty and faculty members from other departments at UT as well. Students will thus have the opportunity to engage in their own critical discussion on Seminar weeks and to observe and participate in a conversation among members of the faculty on Colloquium weeks.
The substantive themes of the course are broad. Much of the focus will be on the Constitution and constitutional theory, but one or two of the papers are likely to take up broader questions in the philosophy of law and/or political theory. Students will be expected to write short, critical papers responding to each of the six papers that will be presented in the course, and to expand one of these short papers into a longer essay.
Instructor: Mitch Berman
|Tuesday||3:30 pm–5:20 pm||JON 6.203|
As formal rule-governed practices, sports and law often pursue similar goals and confront many of the same challenges. For example, each domain must decide: to what extent to guide conduct by formal as opposed to informal norms, and, if the former, by rules or by standards; when to delegate discretion to the adjudicators (judges, juries, referees), and how best to constrain it; how, if at all, to provide for appellate review; how to conceptualize, deter, and sanction "cheating"; how to identify and rectify gaps between "the law in the books" and "the law in action"; etc.
This novel seminar, taught for the first time in spring 2008, will investigate these and other respects in which sports and law face similar dynamics and problematics. The hope is that the comparison will prove illuminating, that particular solutions and approaches adopted by organized sports can teach lessons for how the law can more satisfactorily resolve some of its challenges, and vice versa. As this description should suggest, the seminar has nothing to do with "sports law," which concerns the regulation of sports by law. Rather, it sits at the intersection of sport theory and legal theory.
Instructor: Kevin Toh
|Tuesday||3:30 pm–4:45 pm||TNH 3.124|
|Thursday||3:30 pm–4:45 pm||TNH 3.124|
The course will be a study of some of the central questions in the philosophy of law: What is the nature of law? What characteristics must a community of people have for them to have a legal system? What distinguishes a legal system from a regime of mere coercion on the one hand and a system of morality on the other? What place if any do moral considerations have in workings of a legal system? In particular, do moral norms or principles influence or constrain judges’ legal decisions? Should they? We will investigate these and some related questions by reading a number of classical texts and some of the latest writings in the philosophy of law.
Instructor: John Deigh
|Tuesday||3:30 pm – 5:20 pm||TNH 3.114|
This seminar will be a study of normative theories of punishment and responsibility in the criminal law. The first part of the course will take up theories of punishment. We will examine classical and contemporary statements of deterrence theory and retributivism. Deterrence theory is the theory that punishment of criminals is justified by the decrease in the frequency of crimes that it brings about, chiefly, through its deterring people who might contemplate breaking the law from doing so. Retributivism is the theory that punishment of criminals is justified because justice requires that criminals deserve to suffer some hardship proportionate to their crime. The second part of the course will take up theories of criminal responsibility. These are theories that explain the nature of criminal responsibility and, accordingly, specify and justify the pleas that the law should make available to defendants that would excuse them from responsibility for the violations of law they are accused of committing or mitigate the responsibility they have for the violation they did commit. In the last part of the course we will take up the deeper problems of responsibility associated with how to understand people’s being responsible for their actions when those actions are part of a world governed by scientific laws of nature and the natural forces those laws describe.
Instructor: Larry Laudan
(Eight week seminar)
|Monday||3:30 pm – 5:20 pm||JON 5.207|
|Wednesday||3:30 pm – 5:20 pm||JON 5.207|
A criminal trial is designed to get at the truth about a purported crime. Its methods of doing so, however --methods incorporated into the rules of evidence and procedure-- make clear that a trial’s search for truth is modulated in a variety of ways by non-epistemic considerations (usually deriving from political morality).
This seminar will examine a host of fascinating puzzles at the intersection of moral theory, epistemology and the criminal law. Specifically, it will focus on such key notions as: proof beyond a reasonable doubt; the presumption of innocence; the burden of proof; so-called affirmative defenses; and rules of evidence that aim to strike a balance between respecting the rights of defendants and trying to reconstruct what actually happened.
It should be of interest to advanced students of law and to philosophers puzzled about how, if at all, epistemic and moral issues can be integrated into a coherent theory of inquiry.
Seminar grades will depend on class discussion and one serious research paper.
Courses and seminars of interest to LPP students that have recently been offered in either the law school or the philosophy department include: