Key Concepts in the Philosophy of Law
Course infoSchedule
Course moduleJUR-4KEYPHILO
Credits (ECTS)7
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byRadboud University; Faculty of Law; Rechtsfilosofie;
dr. W.W.H. Cornelissen
Other course modules lecturer
dr. W.W.H. Cornelissen
Other course modules lecturer
Contactperson for the course
P.J. van Valkenburg
Other course modules lecturer
Academic year2022
MSEM2  (30/01/2023 to 31/08/2023)
Starting block
Course mode
Registration using OSIRISYes
Course open to students from other facultiesNo
Waiting listNo
Placement procedure-
Learning Objectives:
  • The student acquires an understanding of key concepts and theories in the field of philosophy of law
  • The student acquires a grasp of the relevance of these concepts and theories for understanding specific phenomena and issues and for assessing contemporary legal and political responses to them
  • The student demonstrates the ability to read classic and contemporary philosophical texts and reconstruct and assess the validity of the arguments presented in them
  • The student demonstrates the ability to write a philosophical paper
  • The student gains the ability to reflect philosophically on the conceptual foundations of positive law and legal practice
Which obligations do states have toward immigrants, and on which grounds? Do states have a right to exclude immigrants, or should humans have the right to move or settle anywhere in the world? Which justifications are there for drawing distinctions between ‘refugees,’ ‘asylum seekers,’ ‘undocumented immigrants,’ other migrants, and citizens? In this course we will focus on the phenomenon of human migration and its regulation within the international legal system. Within this system, there are tensions between the principle of state sovereignty and universal, individual human rights. By focusing on the specific topic of migration, we allow ourselves to probe the meaning, validity, and scope of key concepts underlying our international legal system, such as ’state sovereignty,’ ‘citizenship,’ 'human rights,’ etc. We will do so by engaging in a close reading and critical discussion of classic and contemporary texts in the fields of philosophy of law and political philosophy, texts that continue to shape and frame our thinking about the above-mentioned concepts and questions to this day.
Presumed foreknowledge
Test information
Paper (30% of the final grade) and written exam (70% of the final grade).
Contact information

Practical support: mrs. P. (Petra) van Valkenburg, Montessorilaan 10, room 03.098, tel. +31 24 3612186, e-mail: rechtsfilosofie@jur.ru.nl

Instructor: dr. W.W.H. Cornelissen, Montessorilaan 10, room 03.0311, e-mail: wout.cornelissen@ru.nl.
Required materials
To be announced
Course materials will be made available.

Instructional modes
Working group
Attendance MandatoryYes

This course meets for one two-hour seminar session each week. Students are required to read the assigned readings in preparation of each session and participate actively in class discussion. Preparation, attendance, and active participation are mandatory.

Class lectures and discussion, if Covid-19 permits. Preparation and participation required.

Depending on the developments surrounding Covid-19, lectures may be (partly) offered in digital form this academic year.

Test weight70
Test typeDigital exam with CIRRUS
OpportunitiesBlock MSEM2, Block MSEM2

Test weight30
Test typePaper
OpportunitiesBlock MSEM2, Block MSEM2