What is Jurisprudence? Law is so crucial to any society and culture that legal scholars, jurists
and philosophers from every country and every age have desperately tried to answer what I call the
Three Fundamental Questions: 1) What is law? 2) Where does law come from (what is the source
of law)? and 3) What is the relationship between law and justice?
In this course I take an intellectual history approach to finding out what is Jurisprudence and, in particular, what the legal philosophers who most had an impact on American thinking about law posited as the answers to the Three Fundamental Questions.
We start with William Blackstone, Jeremy Bentham, John Austin and John Stuart Mill. We then look at some important 19th century European jurisprudents including Friedrich von Savigny, Rudolf von Ihering, and Eugen Ehrlich. Then we focus on Americans: Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., Benjamin Nathan Cardozo, John Dewey, Roscoe Pound, Karl Llewellyn, and Lon Fuller. Finally, we look at late 20th and 21st century jurisprudential theories including Critical Legal Studies, Critical Race Theory, Feminist Jurisprudence, Queer Theory Jurisprudence, Narrative Jurisprudence, Law and Society and Law & Literature.
The text for this course is a collection of readings available as photocopies at the bookstore or through hyperlinks at our course website. There is an online self-scheduled final exam due on May 6, 2011.