Philosophy of Law and Security


Course Objective

Learning objectives of the course "Philosophy of Law and Security":

(A) Subject-specific learning outcomes
Upon completion of the course the student should have basic knowledge of
• Philosophical approach to legal and criminological issues, especially
as pertains to security.
• The idea of law and the values of justice, legal certainty, and
• The relationship between violence, sovereignty and terrorism.
• The debate between legal positivism and natural law theory.
• The debate between utilitarianism and deontology.
• The debate between the rule of law and the state of exception.

(B) Academic skills
Upon completion of the course the student is able to:
• Read primary and secondary legal and philosophical sources, detect
structures of reasoning and distinguish between principled and
peripheral matters.
• Identify philosophical issues within existing legal and criminological
approaches to security.
• Reflect upon these philosophical issues within the larger framework of
the main debates in the philosophy of law.
• Offer interpretations of a concrete case in light of the different
philosophical issues involved.

(C) Social and communicative skills
The student is able to:
• Present her analysis of academic writings
• Write a short structured essay, based on relevant academic sources
• Provide feedback on the work of other students

(D) Study skills and professional orientation
• Find relevant philosophical literature pertaining to security.
• Select reliable sources to identify the philosophical issues involved.

Course Content

The Course “Philosophy of Law and Security” studies classical and
contemporary debates in the philosophy of law.

Through a study of the phenomenon of security, students are introduced
to some of the core topics in the philosophy of law:
• the relationship between law, politics and morality;
• the distinction between legitimate and illegitimate violence
(sovereignty vs. terrorism);
• the main values of law (justice, legal certainty, purposiveness);
• central debates in the philosophy of law, in particular in relation to
the main topic of security (utilitarianism vs. deontology; legal
positivism vs. natural law theory; rule of law vs. state of exception).

As the first philosophical course in the Bachelor, the course aims to
make students aware of the ways in which a philosophical approach
differs from both legal and criminological approaches to security.

Teaching Methods

Teaching on this course takes the following consists of:
• Lectures.
• Seminars with a focus on analysis of academic articles.
• Working groups with student presentations and discussion. Attendance
is mandatory.

Method of Assessment

Assessment for this course consists of three components:
• Small mc-exams.
• Brief presentation in class, on interpretation of academic article.
• (Take home) exam with essay question.


Raymond Wacks, Philosophy of Law: A Very Short Introduction (2nd
edition), Oxford University Press 2014 (168 pages).

Syllabus with selected articles.

General Information

Course Code R_PLS
Credits 6 EC
Period P3
Course Level 100
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Law
Course Coordinator dr. mr. L.D.A. Corrias
Examiner dr. mr. L.D.A. Corrias
Teaching Staff dr. mr. L.D.A. Corrias

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Teaching Methods Seminar, Lecture, Study Group