University of Kansas, Spring 2005
Philosophy 674: Philosophy of Law
Study questions: chapter 2, “Law and Morality”
The following questions are intended to guide your reading of the assigned texts
by calling attention to key concepts, distinctions, principles, and other parts
of the texts. The questions are listed in the order in which their answers
should become evident to a close reader.
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- pp. 40–49 (based on questions written by Paul Stucky)
- What sort of law were the defendants in the Nuremberg trial accused of
violating? (This is not a question about the content of the laws in question,
but rather a question about their “level” or scope or jurisdiction.) What did
the defenders of the trial say was the basis for the law that the defendants
were accused of violating? (That is, how was the content of the law to be
- On what grounds might it be said that the Nuremberg trial violated the
rule of law?
- pp. 49–66 (based on questions written by Paul Stucky)
- What do all natural-law theories claim about positive law and morality?
- According to traditional natural-law theory (exemplified in the work of
Aquinas), is it possible for some genuine laws of a political community (such
as a state or a country) to be unjust?
- According to Fuller, is it possible for some genuine laws of a political
community to be unjust?
- What are the principles of legality, or the principles of the inner
morality of the law, in Fuller’s theory?
- According to Fuller, do the principles of legality create a prima facie
moral obligation to obey the rules of any system of positive law?
- Dworkin is the theorist to whom we’ll devote the most time, of all the
theorists whose work we’ll consider in this course. According to Dworkin, do
the principles of legality create a prima facie moral obligation to obey the
rules of any system of positive law?
- In Dworkin’s theory, the law of a political community includes more than
rules such as laws passed by legislatures, judicial rulings, and so on. What,
besides rules, does the law include?
- One criterion that determines what moral principles are part of a
political community’s laws is the criterion of fit. What are the two aspects
- What is the other criterion that determine what moral principles are part
of a political community’s laws? In what way does this mean that legal
interpretation necessarily involves making moral judgments? (This is extremely
- What are the three different moral principles pertaining to privacy that
Altman mentions as principles that might be seen as underlying the Fourth
- What is the challenge of external skepticism to Dworkin’s theory?
- What is the challenge of internal skepticism?
- pp. 66–76
- What is a law, according to Austin? (Hint: Your answer should include the
- How does Austin identify the sovereign of a political community?
- What is Hart’s “gunman” objection to Austin’s theory?
- When, according to Hart, does a rule exist?
- What, according to Hart, enables a rule to impose an obligation?
- What is a secondary rule? What are the three kinds of secondary rule?