Fall 2011

Rule-Following in Legal and Political Thought

Listed in: Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought, as LJST-253


Don Tontiplaphol (Section 01)


What does it mean to follow a rule?  Can we understand rule-following in purely behavioral terms?  Or must we make reference to mental states or intentions?  What sets the standard for correctness in applying rules to particular instances?  Or in deliberating and acting in the light of a rule?  Wittgenstein's so-called "rule-following considerations" have inspired many different responses to these questions; and his thought has fueled divergent positions in moral and legal theory.  This course will examine the role of rules and principles in deliberation as well as the scope of interpretation in legal theory:  in particular, we shall discuss "moral particularism" and legal indeterminacy.  We will read Wittgenstein and such authors as John McDowell, Cora Diamond, and James Conant; Rawls, Jonathan Dancy, and Michael Thompson; Hart, Timothy Endicott, Brian Bix, Andrei Marmor, and Dennis Patterson.  We will also explore the application of their thought to contemporary legal cases.

Requisite:  LJST 110 or consent of the instructor.  Limited to 15 students.  Fall semester.  Visiting Professor Tontiplaphol.

If Overenrolled: Priority to LJST majors, and then by seniority.

Cost: 17.55 ?


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2011