Philosophy of law 2 (2018/2019)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Carlo Lottieri
Carlo Lottieri
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
2° periodo di lezioni - aprile/maggio 2019, 2° periodo di lezioni - febbraio/aprile 2019

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

The course will investigate political obligation, focusing the attention on the contrast between individual autonomy and political system. For this purpose, the lectures will discuss some intellectual experiences that marked the modern philosophical thought since 17th century to now.
The analysis will help to understand if there is an insurmountable tension between freedom and law, or – on the contrary – if many difficulties that the literature on this topic shows are connected to the triumph of the sovereign State and some specific features of this institution: a typically European and modern way to organize public life.


In the first part, the course will analyse the crucial change introduced, in the Western civilization, by the success of the modern State, when the medieval legal system disappears and Europe starts to adopt the Westfalian order. Later the attention will be for many scholars of different times (La Boétie, Locke, Jefferson, Thoreau, Spooner, Passerin d’Entrèves, Huemer), with the aim to call the attention on an intellectual tradition firmly oriented to protect individual liberty and to reject State coercion.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Immanuel Kant Che cos'è l'Illuminismo? Editori Riuniti 2017
Thomas Jefferson Dichiarazione di Indipendenza degli Stati Uniti 1776
Etienne de la Boetie Discorso sulla servitù volontaria Liberilibri 2004
Henry David Thoreau Disobbedienza civile 1849
Michael Huemer Il problema dell´autorita´ politica Liberilibri 2016
Lysander Spooner I vizi non sono crimini Liberilibri 1998
Alessandro Passerin d´Entreves Obbligo e resistenza in una societa´ democratica Edizioni di Comunita´ 1970
John Locke Secondo trattato del governo civile 1688

Assessment methods and criteria

The oral examination, based on suggested bibliography, is oriented to evaluate student’s ability to discuss the topics of the course. 

The student must demonstrate:

- knowledge and understanding;

- ability to make judgements;

- communication skills;

- learning skills.

Teaching aids