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Philosophical Problems in the Law 5th Edition

David M. Adams

  • Published
  • Previous Editions 2005, 2000, 1996
  • 752 Pages


This collection of topically organized articles and cases provides an accessible yet thorough introduction to the philosophy of law. Without presupposing a student's previous knowledge of philosophy or law, PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEMS IN THE LAW encourages philosophy majors and other students interested in law to consider philosophical problems associated with the law, as situated within concrete, timely, and controversial contexts.

David M. Adams, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

David M. Adams received his Ph.D. from the University of Washington and a law degree from Stanford Law School. His publications include articles in legal theory, ethics, social philosophy, and bioethics. He currently teaches at California State Polytechnic University--Pomona, where he serves as the director of the Institute for Ethics and Public Policy.
  • Extensively updated to include eight new cases and six new reading topics.
  • Updated Study Questions throughout.
  • Updated Appendices.
  • Expanded coverage on the nature of international law.
  • New reading selection from Lon Fuller.
  • Updated and revised coverage of same-sex marriage cases.
  • Expanded selection from Mill's ON LIBERTY.
  • New selection on feminist legal theory.
  • New reading on "new" natural law theory.
  • New coverage of immigration and equal protection.
  • Expanded coverage of same-sex marriage.
  • A modular organization allows the instructor to pursue alternative paths through the text.
  • Each chapter contains a four- to five-page introduction, followed by some short case studies. These are followed by readings and "decision scenarios."
  • Chapter introductions initially present and explain difficult philosophical or legal concepts or arguments before delving into more detail.
  • "Cases for Further Reflection" provide extra material either for classroom discussion or in connection with assigned written work.
  • End-of-chapter glossaries serve as a handy reference for students seeking to master the complex terminology of this subject matter.
  • Study questions throughout the text, updated to coincide with new content.
1. The Nature of Law and Legal Reasoning.
a. Philosophy and the Law.
b. What is law?
c. Classical Theories of Law.
d. Modern Theories of Law.
e. Contemporary Perspectives.
2. Constitutional Law: Interpretation and the First Amendment.
a. Legal Reasoning and Constitutional Interpretation.
b. Boundaries of the Law: Freedom of Expression and Enforcing Morality.
c. Obscenity and Pornography.
3. Constitutional Law: Equal Protection of the Laws.
a. Equal Protection Law, Racial Discrimination, and Affirmative Action.
b. Gender, Sexual Orientation, and Equality.
4. Criminal Law.
a. What is Crime?
b. Justification and Excuse.
c. Punishment and Responsibility.
d. The Death Penalty.
5. The Law of Tort.
a. Justice, Compensation, and Tort.
b. Causation and Liability.
c. Acts, Omissions, and the Duty to Rescue.