Module Details

PY410-6-FY-CO: Joint Seminar In Philosophy And Law

Note: This module is inactive. Visit the Module Directory to view modules and variants offered during the current academic year.

Year: 2017/18
Department: Philosophy
Essex credit: 30
ECTS credit: 15
Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students: Yes
Full Year Module Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students for a Single Term: Yes
Outside Option: Yes

Supervisor: Dr Tom Cornford (SP Term), Dr Timo Juetten (AU Term)
Teaching Staff: Dr Timo Jütten and Tom Cornford (Law)
Contact details: Tracy Donaldson, Second and Final Year Administrator email:

Module is taught during the following terms
Autumn Spring Summer

Module Description

This seminar is compulsory for third/final year students on the BA Philosophy and Law, and the LLB Law and Philosophy. It is an optional module for third/final year students in the departments of Philosophy and Law. It is only available as an outside option with the Module Supervisor`s permission.

Module Outline (Updated March 2015)

This seminar examines questions of common concern to philosophers and jurists, and explores them from both a philosophical and a legal perspective.

In 2015/16 the Seminar will focus on markets and market metaphors.

Autumn term: In the autumn term we will begin by looking at some of the basic justifications of the institution of the market, and the relationship between liberalism and capitalism. We will then think about how far the logic of the market extends or can be made to extend, paying particular attention to the recent `neoliberal` transformation of modern capitalist societies. Finally, we will look at the tensions between markets and other important institutions and values such as equality and democracy and ask how moral limits of markets can be determined and justified with reference to these institutions and values.

Spring term: In the spring term we will develop the themes of the autumn term in three directions. Firstly, we will look at the question of whether there should continue to be state broadcasting or whether broadcasting should be left entirely to the market. As a necessary preliminary to this, we will examine justifications of free speech. Secondly, we will look at the economic approach to law. We will examine both the rationale that underpins it and its applications to specific areas, notably competition law and the law of tort. Thirdly, we will look at the phenomenon of quasi-markets i.e. market-like arrangements for the delivery of public services that retain certain traditional features of public services such as universality of provision and freedom from charges at the point of use. We will examine the assumptions that underpin quasi-markets, especially those concerning human motivation, and at attempts to create quasi-markets in the provision of particular services, notably health and education.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module students should be able in their essay and exam work to:
summarise in their own words different legal and philosophical approaches to the issues examined in the module;
appraise critically these approaches and the arguments surrounding them.

By the end of the module, students should also have acquired a set of transferable skills, and in particular be able to:
define the task in which they are engaged and exclude what is irrelevant;
seek and organise the most relevant discussions and sources of information;
process a large volume of diverse and sometimes conflicting arguments;
compare and evaluate different arguments and assess the limitations of their own position or procedure;
write and present verbally a succinct and precise account of positions, arguments, and their presuppositions and implications;
be sensitive to the positions of others and communicate their own views in ways that are accessible to them;
think `laterally` and creatively - see interesting connections and possibilities and present these clearly rather than as vague hunches;
maintain intellectual flexibility and revise their own position if shown wrong;
think critically and constructively.

Learning and Teaching Methods

1 x one-hour lecture each week followed by a one-hour discussion seminar at which issues covered in the lecture will be discussed. Weeks 8 and 21 are Reading Weeks. Weeks 30 and 31 (Summer term) are revision sessions.


50 per cent Coursework Mark, 50 per cent Exam Mark


2 x 2,000-3,000 word essays (each worth 50% of the final coursework mark) (see Philosophy Undergraduate Handbook and full module description on ORB in September for further details).

Exam Duration and Period

3:00 during Summer Examination period.

Other information

Erasmus/IP students must have already taken at least two philosophy modules at their home institution.


  • Brief Bibliography and Preparatory Reading (updated March 2015)
  • Autumn term:
  • Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1960).
  • Debra Satz, Why Some Things Should Not Be for Sale (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010).
  • Spring term:
  • R Posner Economic Analysis of Law (8th ed, New York: Aspen, 2011)
  • Julian Le Grand Motivation, Agency and Public Policy (Oxford UP, 2003)

Further information