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Postgraduate course

Research Theme Philosophy of Law

  • ECTS credits10
  • Teaching semesterAutumn
  • Course codeFIL341
  • Number of semesters1
  • LanguageNorwegian or English
  • Resources

Main content

ECTS Credits


Level of Study


Teaching semester

Spring or Autumn

Place of Instruction


Objectives and Content

Philosophy of law is a discipline within practical philosophy, and it has an inter-disciplinary nature. Its purpose is to investigate the legal theory and practice. This makes the discipline part of the jurisprudence, and separates it from other philosophical disciplines such as political philosophy or ethics; on the other hand, its philosophical method makes it part of philosophy, and separates it from other jurisprudential disciplines. It examines law from an external perspective, and unlike legal sociology or legal history, it does so from a normative and analytical perspective instead of a more descriptive perspective. The course addresses issues that are central to the philosophy of law, such as violations and foundations of law and its relation to morality, as well as specific issues of (international) law such as the legitimacy of political institutions, the limits of national sovereignty, or the doctrine of just war.

Learning Outcomes


After completing the course, the student should have:

  • a deepened systematic, historically informed understanding of central concepts, principles, and theory traditions within the philosophy of law
  • a deepened systematic, historically informed understanding of key issues and somethere with connected central debates within philosophy of law


After completing the course, the student should be able to:

  • demonstrate a deepened systematic understanding of the relevance of central concepts and principles for different theory traditions within the philosophy of law under recourse to several paradigmatic authors
  • convey, in a systematic and differentiated manner, how alternative interpretations of central concepts and principles inform the theory conceptions of several paradigmatic authors
  • critically evaluate the validity of different conceptualizations, principles, and arguments in academic literature under recourse to at least two paradigmatic authors within the philosophy of law
  • critically reflect on and evaluate the potential of different theory traditions, theory conceptions, principles, and arguments from the philosophy of law for analysing and guiding (public discussions about) issues of legal, political, or social importance
  • convey, in a systematic and structured manner, the impact of contemporary or historical debates within philosophy of law on the discipline as well as on public affairs


After completing the course, the student should have competence to:

  • find and identify central literature within the philosophy of law
  • convey knowledge of this literature and its perspective on current political and legal issues to both academic as well as public audiences
  • test the potential of central positions (principles and arguments) to solve relevant political and legal problems

The course provides the basis for further studies e.g., a bachelor's degree with specialization in philosophy. In combination with other subjects, it can be part of an education that qualifies for teaching philosophy in secondary school or higher education. The course can also be used as an aid to deepen basic questions in connection with the study of other subjects.

Required Previous Knowledge

Bachelor's degree with 90 ECTS. Specialization in philosophy or equivalent.

Recommended Previous Knowledge

Good English skills are essential, since one must expect that a lot of the syllabus is in English.

Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap

FIL341 overlaps with FIL241.

Access to the Course

This course is open to students who have been admitted to the Master's programme in philosophy. All other students require permission in order to register for this course. Please contact studieveileder@fof.uib.no to apply.

Teaching and learning methods

The teaching takes the form of lectures and / or seminars.

If fewer than four students are registered, the number of lectures may be reduced. The individual students will be offered individual teaching.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

An approval of compulsory requirements is valid for three semesters, including the semester in which the approval is given.

  • Students must submit a proposal and draft of their semester assignment. Deadlines are set by the department.
  • Students must attend a supervision session with the instructor.

Forms of Assessment

An essay of between 4000 and 6000 words (not including content list, literature list, etc.) The topic of the assignment must be approved by the subject teacher beforehand. The assignment will be delivered digitally and will be graded at the end of the semester.

The compulsory activities have to be formally approved before one can take an exam in the course.

Assessment in a semester without teaching follows the syllabus the previous semester the course had teaching.

Grading Scale

Grading scale from A til F.

Assessment Semester

Autumn / Spring

Reading List

The list of literature is made available on uib.no June 1 for the fall semester and December 1 for the spring semester.

Course Evaluation

The course is evaluated at regular intervals.

Programme Committee

The teaching committee for the professional study in philosophy.

Course Coordinator

The teaching committee for the professional study in philosophy.

Course Administrator

Department of Philosophy

Contact Information

Institutt for filosofi og førstesemesterstudier

E-post: studierettleiar@fof.uib.no