Introduction to Jurisprudence
Political Science 444
Spring 2012
11:00-12:50 Tuesdays & Thursdays, Dwight Beeson Hall, Room 207
Professor Michael DeBow

**   Turn in your final exam to room 208 (or to Ms. Valerie Price in room 239) Robinson Hall no later than 4:30 on Tuesday, May 15.  **

Class presentation topics
(in no particular order) --

Justice for Hedgehogs (2010) and browse his

Michael Novak, Defining Social Justice (First Things, Dec. 2000),

and Friedrich Hayek, Law, Legislation and Liberty, vol. 2, pp.62-73 (see DeBow for copy)

CAPITALISM AND FAIRNESS (pro-capitalism) and browse and


and Melissa Burchard, Feminist Jurisprudence (Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2004/2009),



and 2 brief book reviews (by Andrew Morris and Robert Gordon, 1999),


PLUS -- any relevant topic that interests you (within reason). 

Required texts

Raymond Wacks, Understanding Jurisprudence: An Introduction to Legal Theory (Oxford Univ Press, 2d ed. 2009)
        $70 -- 416 pages         Book's online resource center
          Author's bio 
Shirley Letwin, On the History of the Idea of Law (Cambridge Univ Press, 2005) available (free!) as
        an electronic book via the Samford Library
Pollock & Maitland, The History of English Law Before Edward I (1895), available (free!) on Google Books
        (search for "pollock and maitland")
The Hein database includes most of the law review articles we will discuss.  Click here and then click the link for

What is our subject? -- Feb. 2
Wacks, chapter 1
Recommended (browse):  Judge Posner's website and the Becker-Posner Blog.
       Hans Rosling's video, "200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes" and his website.
In-class presentation of  Richard Posner, The Decline of Law as an Autonomous Discipline, 1962-1987,
       Harvard Law Review, vol. 100, pp. 761-780 (1987).  Available through Hein Online (see "Required texts" for link).

Rule of law -- Feb. 7
Lawrence Solum, Legal Theory Lexicon, The Rule of Law 
Paul Johnson, Laying Down the Law (Wall St. Journal, 1999)
Alan Macfarlane, What Makes Law Effective? (Times Higher Education Supplement, 2005)
John K.M. Ohnesorge, The Rule of Law, pp. 99-103 (Annual Review of Law & Social Science, 2007)
Recommended (browse):  Jeremy Waldron 2011 lecture on The Rule of Law and Human Dignity video here and here  (Cambridge)
    World Justice Project Rule of Law Index  
    John Hasnas, The Myth of the Rule of Law, Wisconsin Law Review, vol. 1995, pp. 199-234 (1995).

Anthropology and law
-- Feb. 9
Wacks, chapter 8
C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man, Appendix: Illustrations of the Tao (1943).
No reaction paper for this meeting.

Anthropology and law -- Feb. 14
Geoffrey Miller, The Economics of Ancient Law (2010)
In-class presentation of    Tom R. Tyler, Why People Obey the Law (2006) (Ms. Armstrong)
No reaction paper for this meeting.
Recommended (browse):   Matt Ridley, The Origins of Virtue: Human Instincts and the Evolution of Cooperation (1997)
    Henry Maine, Ancient Law (1861) on Avalon and Wikisource  

Ancient Israel -- Feb. 16
Geoffrey Miller, The Dark Age: How Biblical Narratives Demonstrate the Need for Law and Government
and his The Book of Judges:The Hebrew Bible's Federalist Papers (both 2010)  
No reaction paper for this meeting.           
Recommended (browse):  For more from Miller, see his SSRN page or NELLCO page and his recent book,
    The Ways of a King: Legal and Political Ideas in the Bible (2011)

Ancient Israel (continued) & ancient Greece
-- Feb. 21 & 23
Exodus chapters 19-23; Deuteronomy chapter 5 (several translations available through the Bible Gateway)
chapters 1 & 2 (Plato & Aristotle) of Letwin, On the History of the Idea of Law (click on link above in "Required Texts" --
    search under "Catalog" for "Letwin" as "Author," then click on the e-book button)
Reaction paper:  Give 2 (or more) questions that are raised in your mind by today's reading. 

Feb. 28 class cancelled.

Roman (civil) law
-- March 1
The Twelve Tables (circa 450 BC) (Internet History Sourcebook) (or here -- click on link #18 on the left side of the page, "Lingua Anglica")
chapter 3 (Cicero) of Letwin, On the History of the Idea of Law (see link above)
biographical information on Cicero (106-43 BC) (Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
Justinian's Institutes (535 AD) (Internet History Sourcebook) (or here -- click on link #18 on the left side of the page, "Lingua Anglica")

Aquinas and natural law 
-- March 6
Jeremiah 31:31-34, Matthew 21:15-22, Romans 2:11-16 and 13:1-7, I Peter 2:13-17
Section 7 of John Finnis, "Aquinas' Moral, Political, and Legal Philosophy" (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosopy)
Recommended (browse):  Homepage for Gratian Studies (Yale)

Aquinas, continued --  March 8
Thomas Aquinas, "Treatise on Law," the Summa Theologica, especially Questions 94 & 95 from First Part of the Second Part, Questons 90-97
chapter 4 (Aquinas) of Letwin, On the History of the Idea of Law (see link above)
Wacks, pp. 12-20

English common law -- March 13
Sections I & II only (from the bottom of p. 81 to the middle of p. 98) of John Hasnas, "Hayek, the Common Law, and Fluid Drive,”
     online at
Henry I, Charter of Liberties (1100)  see especially #13
Recommended (browse):  Anglo-American Legal Timeline (with links)
    Anglo-Saxon Dooms, 560-975 (Internet History Sourcebook)
    Coronation oath 
    Alan Macfarlane, F.W. Maitland and the Making of the Modern World (2002)

English common law (cont'd)
-- March 15
Sections III.A.1 and III.A.2 of Todd Zywicki, "The Rise and Fall of Efficiency in the Common Law," Northwestern U. Law Review, volume 97, pages 1567-1578 (2003).   Copies are available from my secretary, Valerie Price, in room 239, Robinson Hall.  You can also access the article through the HeinOnline database available on the Law Library's website.
Possible student presentation of papers by on Peter Leeson on Ordeals (55 J.L. & Econ. 691 (2012)) and Trial by Battle

Spring Break.

Field trip
-- March 27    NOTE THE TIME CHANGE!
Those of you who don't have a class scheduling conflict should attend the lecture by Prof. Hadley Arkes at The Summit Club, 1901 Sixth Avenue North, from 12:00 to 1:00. 
To get the most out of his talk, you should read this short essay of his in advance.

Further discussion of Prof. Arkes's "Manifesto"
-- March 29.

Utilitarianism and Positivism
-- April 3 & 5.
Wacks pp. 20-27 and chapter 3
Reaction paper:  What is your initial reaction to reading about Bentham?  Are you convinced he's right?  Or that he's wrong?  Or immoral?  Or unoriginal?  Or what?
Recommended (browse):  The Bentham Project  
    Utilitarian Philosophers
    Utilitarianism Resources

H.L.A. Hart
-- April 10
Wacks pp. 93-110
Reaction paper:  Read this article from the Washington Post and write at least a page, but not more than 2 pages, on your reaction to the idea of using happiness as a guide to public policy.
Recommended (browse) : The Legacy of H.L.A. Hart (Oxford Univ Press, 2008) (webbed book)
    Nicola Lacey, H.L.A. Hart's rule of law: the limits of philosophy in historical perspective (2007)
    Nicola Lacey, A Life of H.L.A. Hart: The Nightmare and the Noble Dream (2004)
    Review by Frederick Schauer, Harvard Law Review, vol. 119, pp. 852-___ (2006)
    Candace J. Groudine, Authority: H.L.A. Hart and the Problem with Legal Positivism (1980)
    Videos of a series of talks commemorating 50th anniversary of "The Concept of Law"

Hans Kelsen and Joseph Raz -- April 12 & 17
Wacks pp. 110-136

Natural law revival -- Law and morals -- April 19
Wacks pp. 27-48.

Natural law revival -- Law and morals -- April 24.
Wacks pp. 48-62.

Ronald Dworkin -- April 26.
Wacks pp. 141-159.

Ronald Dworkin -- May 1.
Wacks pp. 159-170.

Justice -- May 3.
Wacks pp. 254-276.

Rights -- May 8.
Wacks pp. 279-294.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)

The duty to obey the law-- May 10.
Wacks pp. 318-322.

Final exam -- Turn in your final exam to room 208 (or to Ms. Valerie Price in room 329) Robinson Hall no later than 4:30 on Tuesday, May 15.


Modern views of natural law/natural rights
Natural Law, Natural Rights and American Constitutionalism 
Robert P. George, Natural Law, Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, vol. 31, pp. 171-___ (2008)

Ronald Dworkin
Archive of columns for NY Review of Books
Blog for his Justice for Hedgehogs (2011)
Guardian review of Hedgehogs
Symposium on Hedgehogs, Boston University Law Review (2010)

Arthur Leff
Unspeakable Ethics, Unnatural Law, 1979 Duke L.J. 1229.

Online texts
Online Library of Liberty -- AALS, Aquinas, Aristotle, Bentham, Blackstone, Coke, Dicey, Gaius,
    Grotius, Hobbes, Hume, Leoni, Locke, Maine, Maitland, Napoleonic Code, Pollock,
    Pollock & Maitland, Pound, Pufendorf, Sandoz, Smith, Zane
Fordham Internet History Sourcebooks Project
Jurisprudence Readings (Professor G. William Rice, University of Tulsa law school)
PhilPapers: Online Research in Philosophy -- Philosophy of law and Justice
The Washington University Jurisprudence Review  "the only student-edited, in-print journal of
    jurisprudence in the United States"
Guest, Gearey, Penner & Morrison, chapters 1-4 of
    Student guide in Jurisprudence & Legal Theory, U of London international programmes

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy -- "Nature of law," including sub-entries on interpretivisit theories, legal positivism, natural law theories, and pure theory of law
Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy -- Philosophy of law, natural law, legal positivism, law and economics, analytic philosophy
Lawrence Solum, Legal Theory Lexicon -- "All the concepts that fit."

Videos, podcasts, online courses, etc.
Michael Sandel's Justice: A Journey in Moral Reasoning (Harvard) (readling list also here)
Deirdre McCloskey's website, including a list of video and audio clips

Law and philosophy centers/programs 
Arizona State  
NYU                                        Cambridge  
Penn                                         Oxford
San Diego 
Southern Cal                             McMaster  
Stanford                                    Osgoode Hall  
Texas                                        Toronto 
UCLA                                      Western Ontario 

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