00385 - Philosophy of Law (M-Q)

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2022/2023

Learning outcomes

Students will be introduced to the critical study of the history of legal philosophy, to the fundamental issues of legal theory (such as the typology of norms and the interpretation, integration, and systematization of law), and to the most relevant authors and problems discussed in the contemporary legal-philosophical debate. The course is meant to provide first-year students in legal studies both with a non-superficial knowledge of the historical development of theoretical thinking about law in the Western philosophical culture and with an introduction to the basic concepts of legal theory.

Course contents

The course will provide a theoretical and historical introduction to the main issues and approaches in legal philosophy. The focus will be on (a) fundamental questions concerning the nature and application of the law - what the law is - and (b) the different answers provided to such questions by different theories.

Against this background, the final part of the course will provide an appraisal of (c) the philosophical foundations of liberal democratic constitutionalism:

(a)

The law and the sources of the law

Types of legal norms

Legal systems

The distinctive features of law

Validity, efficacy and justice of legal norms

Law and morality

Language, legal interpretation and legal reasoning

(b)

Natural Law Theory

Legal Postiivism

Legal Realism

(c)

Constitutionalism


Readings/Bibliography

------ Attending Students

a) A.A.V.V., Argomenti di teoria del diritto. Materiali per gli studenti, Giappichelli, Torino, nuova edizione 2022.

b) C. Faralli, Le grandi correnti della filosofia del diritto, Giappichelli, Torino, nuova edizione 2022.

c) C. Caruso, C. Valentini (a cura di), Grammatica del costituzionalismo, Il Mulino, Bologna, 2021, the following chapters: "Costituzione", "Democrazia", "Stato di diritto", "Separazione dei poteri", "Diritti", "Eguaglianza" and two chapters chosen by the student.



----- Non-attending Students

a) Argomenti di teoria del diritto. Materiali per gli studenti, Giappichelli, Torino, 2016.

b) C. Faralli, Le grandi correnti della filosofia del diritto, Giappichelli, Torino, 2014.

d) C. Caruso, C. Valentini (a cura di), Grammatica del costituzionalismo, Il Mulino, Bologna, 2021, the following chapters: "Il costituzionalismo e le sue parole", "Costituzione", "Democrazia", "Stato di diritto", "Separazione dei poteri", "Diritti", "Eguaglianza" and two chapters chosen by the student.

d) A. Rotolo, Perché il diritto è una convenzione? Il gioco delle norme e il suo linguaggio, Giappichelli, Torino, 2nd ed., 2017.

----- For students who are behind schedule with their exams and who are enrolled in the five-year programme in Giurisprudenza (Magistrale),the four-year programme in Giurisprudenza (vecchio or nuovo ordinamento), in the three-year programme in Scienze giuridiche, or in the two-year Laurea Specialistica in Giurisprudenza:

They can opt for the readings required for non-attending students in the current academic year, or the readings assigned for non-attending students in the academic year in which they registered. Any changes must be made in agreement with the professor.

----- For students who require a supplement of credits CFU for Philosophy of Law:

1-2 credits: Three chapters chosen by the students from C. Caruso, C. Valentini (a cura di), Grammatica del costituzionalismo, Il Mulino, Bologna, 2021.

3-4 credits: Five chapters chosen by the students from C. Caruso, C. Valentini (a cura di), Grammatica del costituzionalismo, il Mulino, Bologna, 2021.

5 credits: Six chapters chosen by the students from C. Caruso, C. Valentini (a cura di), Grammatica del costituzionalismo, il Mulino, Bologna, 2021.

----- Erasmus Students

a) Argomenti di teoria del diritto. Materiali per gli studenti, Giappichelli, Torino, 2016.

b) C. Faralli, Le grandi correnti della filosofia del diritto, Giappichelli, Torino, 2014.

In addition, the student has to choose one of the following books:

- H. Kelsen, Introduction to the Problems of Legal Theory, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1992.

- H. L. A. Hart, The Concept of Law (with a Postscript), Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2012.

- J. J. Moreso, J. M. Vilajosana, Introducción a la teoría del derecho, Marcial Pons, Madrid-Barcelona, 2004.

Teaching methods

The lectures will cover course contents and include the discussion and critical analysis of selected readings and judicial decisions in class. Further information about the course will be provided in class and published online.

This is a first-semester course.

For information about the timetable and location of classes, please check this webpage and the website of the Department: https://corsi.unibo.it/singlecycle/LawBologna

 

Assessment methods

During the course, there will be one or more exercise sessions, consisting of a) a self-assessment test (anonymous) and 2) a short written essay answering an open question on one of the topics discussed in the previous lectures. In both cases, there will be a collective discussion on the question and the results of the exercise.

The evaluation will consist of an oral exam testing the students' understanding of the complex theoretical issues discussed during the course as well as their knowledge of the main developments of the history of legal philosophy up to the contemporary debate. Hence, the exam will not necessarily dwell on specific textual passages but will rather test the students' ability to argue a philosophical thesis and understand the problems connected to it. Normally, the oral examination consists of a series of questions on the texts of the course, and the final grade is the result of an average of the results of the answers to these questions. When students achieve an organic view of the issues addressed in lectures, demonstrating a mastery of the specific terminology and conceptual framework of the discipline, they will be assessed with marks of excellence. Lack of concision and the usage of language and terminology which are not always appropriate will lead to a fair evaluation; knowledge gaps and inappropriate language - although in a context of acceptable knowledge - will not go beyond the grade threshold “sufficient”. Knowledge gaps (such as to have ignored some of the texts in the program for the course), inappropriate language, and lack of any overall view of the basic issues discussed in textbooks and during the course that will lead to an insufficient assessment.

Final grading criteria:

- sufficient or barely sufficient knowledge on the programme, limited reasoning ability, some difficulties in using technical and legal language → 18-21/30;

- fairly good knowledge of the programme, adequate critical reasoning ability, sound use of technical and legal language → 22-25/30;

- comprehensive knowledge of the programme, notable reasoning ability, good command of technical and legal language → 26-29/30;

- extensive knowledge of the programme, very good reasoning ability, and ability to fully master technical-legal language → 30-30L/30.

Students registering for the exam must so do using the University's Almaesami system.

Students will be recognized as having attended the course in the current academic year only if they come to the exam with a signed copy of the personal attendance form, which can be downloaded from the Web, showing each of the lectures that have been attended. Attending students are required to attend at least 2/3 of the lectures, corresponding to 40 hours, and will be tested on the specific content of lectures shown on the attendance sheet.

The attendance sheet will be valid up to and including December 2022 exam session. Students will be able to take the exam starting in January 2022. There are no prerequisites that need to be satisfied for eligibility to take this exam.

Teaching tools

Slides and handouts summarizing the course contents; discussion and critical analysis of selected readings and judicial decisions in class; use of online platforms to access and exchange information about the course.

All information relative to the course, along with any course material, will be available online at https://iol.unibo.it/ oppure su https://www.unibo.it/sitoweb/c.valentini

Students with learning disorders or other impairments who need special aids can point that out to the professor, who will make appropriate arrangements.

THESIS

Students planning to write a dissertation on any contents or issues covered in the course are recommended to include one or more of the following courses in their curriculum depending on their interests:

  • Theory of Law and Justice;
  • Logic and Legal Reasoning;
  • Sociology of Law;
  • Applied Ethics: Bioethics and Professional Ethics.

Office hours

See the website of Chiara Valentini

See the website of Alberto Artosi