Legal theory encompasses any theoretical reflection about law. Within legal theory, legal philosophy, as its name implies, is the philosophy of law. Legal philosophy brings philosophical rigour to the theoretical reflection about law. Within legal philosophy, analytic jurisprudence applies the rigour of analytic philosophy to the study of the concept of law. This course will focus on the canonical works in analytic jurisprudence. The course revolves around one simple question: “What is law?”
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Discuss and explain key kinds of descriptive, justificatory and critical argumentation about law and legal issues;
- Explain and identify familiarity with the ideas of key thinkers in legal theory;
- Discuss and critically evaluate the ideas and arguments of legal theorists covered in the course;
- Identify and discuss in a more theoretically informed style law and legal issues;
- Identify and critically engage with some of the theoretical background of legal decisions and contemporary legal issues;
- Engage critically in a theoretically informed and well-structured analysis and argument in relation to matters raised in this course.
- Reflect critically upon written legal theoretical materials relevant to the learning activities engaged in in this course.
- Mid-Semester Research Essay or Take-Home Exam (50) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6,7]
- Final Research Essay or Take-Home Exam (50) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6,7]
In response to COVID-19: Please note that Semester 2 Class Summary information (available under the classes tab) is as up to date as possible. Changes to Class Summaries not captured by this publication will be available to enrolled students via Wattle.
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Classes offered during semester periods are expected to have 3 contact hours per week (a minimum of 36 hours). Students are generally expected to devote at least 10 hours overall per week to this course.
Requisite and Incompatibility
The course will be based two key texts in analytic jurisprudence, one positivist (Book 1) and the second antipositivist (Book 2). Students will be expected to read the two books from cover to cover in the course. Students need to understand the argument as a whole in its entirety, in order to attain the requisite depth of knowledge.
A reading guide will be available on the course webpage.
This course assumes that students have some legal knowledge of the core areas of public and private law.
Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.
If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.
- Student Contribution Band:
- Unit value:
- 6 units
If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees. Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.
Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links
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Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.