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This course explores the origins, nature, and functions of law. We will take up such questions as: How do we know when a legal system exists? Do legal rules actually constrain judicial decision-making or do other systems of thought (race, politics, economics, ideology) dictate outcomes? Where no legal norm controls a case, how ought judges to decide that case? No familiarity with either jurisprudence or philosophy will be presupposed, though the readings will be intellectually demanding. The course is organized like a graduate seminar. Students will be evaluated primarily based on two 5-8 page papers based on in-class readings (70% of grade). To facilitate discussion, these papers are shared among seminar participants. There will also be a discussion component to the final grade (30%).
Textbooks and Other Materials
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First Class Readings
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