Instructor: Nevin Johnson. This course meets MWF 10:10 – 11:00 a.m. in WG 301.
This course will examine two sets of issues related to the nature of law and its connection with morality. The first set of questions revolves around the nature of the concept of law itself. What is law? Does law conceptually bear some necessary or essential relation to morality? If so, what is that relation? Is it true that “an unjust law is no law at all” (lex iniusta non est lex)? The other set of questions deals with what principles ought to shape the construction of the law and legal system, especially the criminal law and tort law. What are the moral principles to which the law in these departments should conform? For example, should we maintain the principle that the “ignorance of the law is no excuse” (ignorantia juris non excusat)? What are the ultimate moral principles more generally that govern the law’s treatment of punishment?