Brandeis University, Philosophy Department
Spring 2011
Brandeis University Web Stite

Philosophy 22B

Philosophy of Law

Professor Andreas Teuber
Prof. Teuber

(Click on Calendar)

Course Description

  1. The course will cover a number of central topics in the philosophy of law: the nature of criminal responsibility (what is a crime?), necessity and duress, causation in the law, negligence and liability, criminal attempts, omissions and the duty to rescue, insanity and excuse, the aims and limits of criminal punishment, and the nature and limits of law.

  2. An effort will be made to get at the principles underlying differing judicial judgments about particular cases as well as to answer more general questions: Under what conditions should a person be held responsible for his or her acts? Under what conditions may one be excused? Suppose I simply make a mistake? Or was merely careless? Or was mentally unstable? Is it fair to punish me for a harm I caused, but did not intend? And if I fail to commit a crime, should I be punished less severely than if I succeed?

  3. Specific topics will include sleepwalking, persons subject to post-hypnotic suggestion, faith healers, mis-administered poisons, misfired bullets, and foiled attempts. Also: felony-murder, strict criminal liability, arguments for and against the death penalty, private law, contracts, privacy, free speech, and a brief excursus on whether the law is more like the rules of a game (e.g. chess or poker), cooking recipes, or the Ten Commandments.

    The COURSE DESCRIPTION & REQUIREMENTS are available in PDF File online. Course Requirements will also be handed out on the first day of class.

    The sole text for the course is PHILOSOPHY OF LAW, 8TH EDITION, edited by Jules Coleman of YALE LAW SCHOOL and Joel Feinberg of the UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA, Cengage Learning Press, 2007. See the (Table of Contents).

    Copies of the Philosophy of Law Text are also available at the Brandeis University Book Store or may be purchased online.

    The course meets on Tuesdays and Fridays from 1:40 PM to 3:00 PM. in THE MANDEL CENTER, ROOM G-12.

    See the Campus Map.

    In addition, several small discussion sessions will be scheduled at regular intervals, in particular, after a paper topic is handed out and before a paper is due. Times will be announced in class and posted. Attendance at the discussion sessions is not required, but everyone is invited and available to anyone in the class who wishes to take advantage of the opportunity to explore matters raised by the course in greater depth.

    Syllabus Handouts and Lecture Notes
    Section Times Class Discussion

    Contact Info

    The course is taught by ANDREAS TEUBER. You may wish to take a look at the SHORT BIOGRAPHY and the CV which are online to glean some idea of who the instructor is. During the Spring you can reach me as follows:

    Office: RABB GRADUATE CENTER, Room 330
    Office hours: Tuesdays and Fridays 12:10-1:00 PM
    and by appointment. Office Phone: 1-781-736-2787
    Email: <>

    Feel free to drop in at any time during office hours. If these hours are inconvenient, you can arrange to meet by appointment. You can always email me. I read email several times each day and usually respond right away.

    The teaching fellows for the course are
    Laura Schwartz - Email: <> and
    Jacob Nerney - Email: <>



    [PHIL 22B] [Handouts] [Bio] [CV] [Phil Dept.] [E-mail]

    Send comments to: Andreas Teuber
    Last Modified: 01/16/11
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