28109 - Philosophy of Law (1) (2nd cycle)

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Reduced inequalities Peace, justice and strong institutions

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

Basic knowledges, specific methodologies and critical abilities with regard to the most relevant issues in philosophy of law and human rights.

Course contents

The Law and Its Shadow. Beyond Legalism

The twentieth century has been defined as the century of genocides, certainly the Second World War created a chasm, opened our gaze to the abyss of the most extreme evil. As a reaction, the juridical-moral order of the world had to change. Gustav Radbruch was, as a philosopher of law, the protagonist of this epochal gesture of normative discontinuity and is today still a point of reference for contemporary constitutionalism. He is not only a classic, but one of those authors with whom one cannot but reckon. The essay Gesetzliches Unrecht and übergesetzliches Recht is rightly considered one of the most influential writings in the history of human rights and democratic thought.

For this reason, the Course will start from the international philosophical reflection which began after 1945 and from Gustav Radbruch in particular. The lessons will focus on the historical realization of the fundamental demands of justice thus emerged, or on the legal recognition of human dignity, human rights and crimes against humanity. The last part of the first module will be dedicated to the notion of (democratic) law that arose from the ashes of the Second World War.

Of this concept, through the voice of one of the greatest legal philosophers of the second half of the twentieth century, Herbert Hart, we will analyze the constitutive theoretical profiles and some paradigmatic applications to which the Oxford philosopher himself reserved his commitment and attention: homosexuality and prostitution.

Class Schedule

I semester

mo, tu, we

11-13, classroom A (C.trecento) and on TEAMS.

starting date: sept. 20, 2021.


Gustav Radbruch, Diritto e no. Tre scritti, ed.by M. Lalatta Costerbosa, Mimesis, Milan-Udine, 2021.

Antonio Cassese, Diritti umani oggi, Laterza, Rome-Bari, 2005.

H.L.A. Hart, Diritto, libertà e moralità, Bonanno, Acireale, 1968 (or eng. edition)


Optional Readings:

Robert Alexy, Concetto e validità del diritto, Einaudi, Turin, 1997. (or eng. edition)

Norberto Bobbio, L’età dei diritti, Einaudi, Torino, 1990.

Pier Paolo Portinaro, I conti con il passato. Vendetta, amnistia, giustizia, Feltrinelli, Milano, 2011.

Gustavo Zagrebelsky, Il diritto mite. Legge, diritti, giustizia, Einaudi, Torino, 1992.

Jeanne Hersch, I diritti umani da un punto di vista filosofico, Bruno Mondadori, Milan, 2008. (or eng. edition)


The course will be accompanied by some seminars dedicated to themes or authors treated in class. Seminar appointments will be communicated at the beginning of the course; participation  is optional.

The exam program is identical for attending and non-attending students.

Teaching methods

Lectures and discussion.

Interdisciplinary seminars will be hold by experts working in the field.

Assessment methods

Final oral examination. Room 5.01 (str. Zamboni 38) or on TEAMS. 

On September there will be an examination schedule.


Evaluating criteria:

1. Expertise; practical reasoning ability; critical competence.


18-21/30 basic level

22-25/30 moderate level

26-28/30 good level

29-30/30 excellent level.

Teaching tools


Links to further information

http://Si consiglia di consultare regolarmente la pagina web "Contenuti utili" del Portale personale della docente.

Office hours

See the website of Marina Lalatta Costerbosa