Fall 2018 - CRIM 338 D100

Philosophy of Law (3)

Class Number: 7938

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Fr 12:30 PM – 2:20 PM
    RCB 8100, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 14, 2018
    12:00 PM – 3:00 PM
    AQ 3182, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    CRIM 101 and 135.



Introduction to the philosophy of law. Concepts of law, constitution and sovereignty. The nature and sources of the law. Examination of natural law, legal positivism, Kelsen's pure theory of law, legal realism, modern normative and analytical theories, critical legal theory and feminist theory.


This course begins with a survey of some of the dominant classical and modern theories about the nature of law. These include natural law theory, legal positivism, legal realism, interpretive theories of law, critical legal studies and feminism. Our concerns will then become focused upon the philosophical dimensions of specific areas of legal controversy and debate. These include law and liberty, the connection between law and morality, civil disobedience, the legitimacy of torture, and the nature of rights. Lectures and discussions will also include a consideration of philosophical issues that arise in criminal law. These include a consideration of different bases for criminal liability, and a consideration of the aims and limits of criminal punishment.


  • Participation 10%
  • Test #1 20%
  • Test #2 (in final exam period) 20%
  • Short Paper 20%
  • Quizzes (3% x 10) 30%



1. Keith C. Culver & Michael Giudice (eds.). Readings in the Philosophy of Law (3rd Edition). Peterborough, ON: Broadview, 2017.

2. H.L.A. Hart. The Concept of Law (3rd Edition). Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.

3. Additional readings will be available through Canvas or through Library resources.

Department Undergraduate Notes:

ATTENTION: STUDENTS WITH A DISABILITY: Please contact the Centre for Students with Disabilities, (MBC 1250 or Phone 778-782-3112) if you need or require assistance, not your individual instructors.  

  • N.B.: Students are reminded that attendance in the first week of classes is important. However, there are no tutorials in the first week.
  • ON CAMPUS COURSES ONLY: Assignments not submitted to the Professor/T.A. during class/office hours must be placed in the security box behind the General Office (ASSC 10125), or submitted as per Professor’s instructions for courses taking place at Surrey Campus. The assignment drop-off box is emptied Monday to Friday at 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. only and the contents are date stamped accordingly. No other department’s date stamp will apply (e.g. Library/Campus Security) and the School of Criminology is not responsible for assignments submitted any other way (e.g. slid under office doors). The University does NOT accept assignments by fax. 
  • A student must complete ALL aspects of a course (including assignments, exams, class participation, presentations, chat room components of Distance Education courses and other), otherwise he/she will receive a grade of N. 
  • E-mail policy for on campus courses only: The School of Criminology STRONGLY DISCOURAGES the use of e-mail in lieu of office hour visits. Criminology advises its instructional staff that they are NOT required to respond to student e-mails and that students wishing to confer with them should do so in person during scheduled meeting times.
  • The University has formal policies regarding intellectual dishonesty and grade appeals which may be obtained from the General Office of the School of Criminology.
  • Under GP18, the University has policies and procedures which respond to our obligations under the BC Human Rights Code to provide a harassment and discrimination free environment for the students, staff and faculty of this institution.  Members of this community have an affirmative obligation to safeguard the human rights of others.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://students.sfu.ca/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html