Philosophy of Law

New School for Social Research: Philosophy

Liberal Arts
Graduate Course
Majors Only
Philosophy of Law
Fall 2022
Taught By: Judith Butler
Section: A

CRN: 14464

Credits: 3

This course will begin by considering the justification of law as a central problem for both philosophy and law. Starting with H.L.A Hart’s “The Ascription of Responsibility and Rights” and J.L. Austin’s How to Do Things with Words, we will consider the promise and limits of speech act theory as it relates to the justification of legal authority. We will then consider how the problem of justification emerges again when we ask why we follow laws when we do, and whether or not we should. We will read Charles Taylor’s “To Follow a Rule” , sections from Kelsen's "Pure Theory of Law"and Hannah Arendt “On Civil Disobedience.” In the second half of the course, we will consider Arendt, Benjamin, and Scholem together on the question of living life according to law, focusing on their discordant approaches to Kafka. We will read Arendt’s “On Violence”, Benjamin’s “On the Critique of Violence”, and parts of the Benjamin-Scholem correspondence from the 1930s as well as three separate fictional works by Kafka. In Kafka, we will consider the origin and justification of legal systems, the relationship between slander and guilt, the obscurity of law's origin, and the problems of interpretation and judgment.

College: New School for Social Research (GF)

Department: Philosophy (GPHI)

Campus: New York City (GV)

Course Format: Seminar (R)

Modality: In-Person

Max Enrollment: 20

Add/Drop Deadline: September 20, 2022 (Tuesday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: October 25, 2022 (Tuesday)

Seats Available: No

Status: Closed*

* Status information is updated every few minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 5:58am EST 2/5/2023