Jurisprudence and Legal Theory
This information is for the 2012/13 session.
For LLM students, MSc Regulation, MSc Regulation (Research), MSc Law, Anthropology and Society students, and other Master's level students with permission.
This course is capped at 30 students. Students must apply through Graduate Course Choice on LSEforYou.
The aim of this course is to situate the central debates in jurisprudence against the backdrop of major themes in modern European philosophy, especially the idea of autonomy. Drawing on the philosophical tradition that connects Kant to Habermas, we illuminate and re-frame the questions that figures such as Hart, Kelsen, Finnis and Fuller have identified as defining jurisprudential inquiry: What explains the foundations of legal orders and their durability across space and time? What is the connection between law and sovereignty? What accounts for the normativity of law? What is the relationship between legality and legitimacy? At the same time, and also invoking an alternative tradition of modern European thought that includes Marx, Nietzsche, and Foucault, we open up other questions that have been neglected by jurisprudence: What forces propel law's historical evolution? What are the material conditions for law's existence as a legitimate structure of authoritative norms? What are the connections between law and forms of power that are not encoded in the forms of sovereignty? And most fundamentally: Is law necessary, or rather antithetical, to processes of individual and collective self-determination?
Students are asked to submit two 2,000 word essays.
Readings will be provided in advance on a weekly basis.
One two-hour formal examination contributing 50% of the final mark and one extended essay (8,000 words) contributing 50% of the final mark. The extended essay will meet the LLM Writing Requirement.