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Dr. Oswald Harding
OJ., QC.


Two lectures and one tutorial per week






PH3OL: Philosophy of Law


Course Rationale

Course Rationale

The contemporary world is one in which the place of government and law in society is constantly under serious challenges. These challenges are endogenous as well as exogenous. The instrument that societies use to maintain peace, order and harmony is the law. Laws are prevalent in moderating our lives, but issues of validity, justness and rationality of laws arise every day. This course is very crucial in developing in students a competence to raise the critical issues that derive from the presence of laws in our lives. Students are encouraged to undertake an in-depth analysis of the nature, origin, sources, legitimacy and validity of laws in society in this course.

Target Group

This course is designed primarily for students from various disciplines interested in Law, Legal Issues and Law and Society. The course aims at giving them the opportunity to interrogate in a structured manner the issues of critical and analytical (philosophical) reflection on Law in Society.

Course Objectives

At the end of this Course students should be able to:

  1. Identify the issues on the origin and ends of laws in society.
  2. Critically analyze the issues of legitimacy of legal frameworks in society,
  3. Comment critically on Law and Justice in society, and
  4. Show ability to carefully present alternative perspectives in legal arguments.
Course Outline
Course Outline
This course provides a systematic consideration of the fundamental issues in the conception and practice of law; original of law; laws, commands and orders; sovereignty and subject; legitimacy and autonomy; laws, ethics and justice; democracy and the law; gender and the law; discrimination and reverse discrimination; war and laws; sanctity of life and law suicide, capital punishment, cloning, organ transplantation, etc.; and conscience and the law. It provides a forum for the discussion of such perennial themes in legal theory as the nature and function of law, the relation of law to morality, the function of rules in legal reasoning, and the connection between law and social policy. We look at philosophical issues in crime, civil rights, punishment, and the legislation of morality. International laws perspectives and problems.
Course Outline
  • One examination (2 hours) … … (60%)
  • One (1) in-course essay … … (40%)
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