PHL 612: Philosophy of Law

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RYERSON UNIVERSITY Department of Philosophy Course No. PHL 612: Philosophy of Law Winter 2014 SECTION ONE (011) Instructor(s): Alex Wellington Office: Room 428, Jorgenson Hall* Phone: 979-5000 ext. 4057 (E-mail address)**: awelling@ryerson.ca OR alex.wellington@sympatico.ca Office Hours Posted: Wednesdays at 2:10 pm, By Appointment Wednesdays at 3:10 pm and at 4:10 pm, Drop In Time Thursdays at 3:10 pm, By Appointment *Other times may be available by appointment Website: Blackboard course website available through my.ryerson.ca This is an Upper Level Liberal Studies course Course Description: PHL 612 Philosophy of Law [Calendar Description]: What is law? What makes something a legal norm? Should…show more content…
Course materials will also engage with debates over the role of the Harm Principle, Moralism and Paternalism, especially in the context of Criminal Law. In order to bring these often very abstract issues to life, we will examine a selection of high profile and prominent decisions (mainly from Canadian courts, and frequently from the Supreme Court of Canada) which can be said to have changed the law, and in which the judges of the court have disagreed among themselves. Cases to be covered concern controversial issues such as Battered Woman Syndrome, Euthanasia/ Physician Assisted Suicide, Hate Speech, Marijuana Use, Obscenity/ Pornography, Prostitution, or topics in human rights (i.e., freedom of expression, national security and the right not to be tortured, or religious freedom). Analysis of cases will include exploration and examination of the philosophical aspects of crucial terms and concepts that appear in Canadian law, such as in the Criminal Code of Canada, or in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. PLEASE NOTE: Philosophical theories of punishment, such as deterrence (based on the ethical theory of utilitarianism), retributivism (based on the ethical theory of deontology), denunciation, and restorative justice are covered comprehensively in a different course, PHL 449, Philosophy of Punishment. Throughout the course, there will be an iterative process for learning, one in which philosophical theories and

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