Wolff, The Conflict Between Authority and Autonomy
When we talk about authority, what do we have in mind? Some ways we use the concept:
Thats the authoritative edition of Frosts poems.
Shes an authority on radiation therapy.
He has the authority
Scalia and Dworkin on Statutory Interpretation
Scalia, Common-Law Courts in a Civil-Law System
What are we looking for when we construe a statute?
The intent of the legislature?
Scalia says of this approach that it is incompatible with democra
Dworkin, selections from Laws Empire: Integrity and Adjudication
A Test Case: The McLoughlin Case
Under what circumstances, if any, is someone legally entitled to compensation for
o Precedent considerations: judges had, in the
Dworkin, selections from Taking Rights Seriously
Dworkin on Harts Model of Rules
Dworkin identifies these three propositions as forming the core of the legal positivist
(1) The law of a community is a set of special rules used to deter
Hart, selections from The Concept of Law
Hart, like Austin, wants to retain the central tenet of legal positivism: the separation of the
concept of law as it is from the concept of law as it ought to be:
(1) The existence and content of laws is
Austin, selections from The Province of Jurisprudence Determined (1832)
Legal Positivism is the thesis that the existence and content of law depends on social facts,
and not on its merits. Austin defended positivism:
The existence of law is one
Session 26 Applbaum, Professional Detachment: The Executioner of Paris
Applbaums discussion of the case of Sanson, the Execution of Paris, connects to a number of
issues that have come up before in this class:
How should a judge rule who has a moral objec
Seana Shirin, Wrongful Life, Procreative Responsibility, and the Signicance of Harm
An unclear case of harm
A general philosophical question: What is harm? What is its relation to benet?
One reason it would be good to have an answer to this:
Session 13 Kaplan, Decision Theory and the Factfinding Process
Decision Theory: employs the notion of expected utility to come to conclusions about the
rational, or optimal, decision to make under conditions of uncertainty.
When were faced with deciding w
Session 11 Rawls, The Justification of Civil Disobedience
What distinguishes civil disobedience from other ways of disobeying the law? And
what, if anything, justifies civil disobedience?
Some examples of civil disobedience:
Thoreau refusing to pay his po
Dworkin, selection from Laws Empire
In the selection we read, Dworkin is arguing for two conclusions simultaneously:
that political obligations (most centrally, the obligation to obey the law)
are associative obligations, akin to obligations
Smith, Is There A Prima Facie Obligation to Obey the Law?
Identifying the Question
Not: Does the fact that some act is against the law provide us with a reason to
believe (i.e. evidence) that it is wrong? (The lawyers question.)
Not: Is the fact