Philosophy of Law

Degree course: 
Corso di First cycle degree in Communication Sciences
Academyc year when starting the degree: 
Academyc year when helding the course: 
Course type: 
Supplementary compulsory subjects
First Semester
Standard lectures hours: 
Detail of lecture’s hours: 
Lesson (48 hours)

No prerequisites

Final Examination: 

Oral exam. The candidate will be asked 5 questions, 2 on the first part, 3 on the second part. To award a rating of the examination, 60 % accuracy and quality of responses, 30 % ability to motivate reviews, 10 % abilities during exam.

Voto Finale

The teaching’s aim is to create the conditions for the students to understand the typology and the specificity of each of the powers that contribute to the balanced functioning of a state. The students will also learn the precise terminology – and it’s historical context – as it was used by the French philosophers in the 17th and 18th centuries. The course will stimulate the student to grasp the historical and juridical evolution of the different powers and the differences between the monarchy, the absolutism, the totalitarianism, and the liberal democracy.

The teaching outcome are thus be the following ones:

1. Understanding of the philosophical and juridical debate concerning the construction of a modern state in France during the 17th and 18th centuries
2. Capacity to understand the information concerning the different powers in the light of different perspective offered by the different philosophers presented during the course
3. Capacity to explain to an expert and no expert public the elements that contributed to a balanced relationship between legislative, executive and juridical powers.

Oral exam. The oral examination will test the candidate’s ability to orient themselves in the context of the political and philosophical debate of the seventeenth and eighteenth century and in relationship that are born in the context of the modern State.The candidate will be asked 5 questions: 2 on the first part, 3 on the second part. The final score will be determined for the 60% by the correctness and the quality of the answers, for 30 % by the capacity to adequately support the answers, and for 10 % by the ability in the oral test.

The course is split in two parts.

1. The first part will generally introduce the historical evolution of the procedures of the General States between the 1300 and 1598 with an analysis of the delegation system and of the mandates assigned to the delegates of the Three Orders. The juridical consequence of the relationship between Catholics and Protestants. The born of the modern State and Bodin’s interpretation. The creation of the figure of the Prime Minister and the consequent expansion of the executive power of the Cardinal Ministers. The progressive centralization of the State and the relationship between the different constituent powers. Louis XIV and the absolute State.

2. The second part will deal with the illuminist movement in the 18th century and the associated philosophical juridical debate. The Jacobin interpretation of the relationship between morality and law. The subjugation of the juridical power and executive power to the legislative power. The negation of the representation and the retrieval of juridical and political forms typical of the classic antiquity. Sieyès and the constituent proposal. The Assembly Legislative National Constituent and the Convention. Structure of the Public Health Committee.

Compulsory texts (any edition as long as it is complete):

J.J. Rousseau, Se le scienze e le arti abbiano contribuito a migliorare i costumi

J.J. Rousseau, Discorso sulle origini della diseguaglianza

J.J. Rousseau, Il contratto sociale.

A test of your choice from the following:

Machiavelli, Discorso sulla prima Deca di Tito Livio
Moro, Utopia
Campanella, La città del sole
Bacone, Nuova Atlantide
Harrington, La repubblica di Oceana
Locke, Lettera sulla tolleranza
Montesquieu, Considerazioni sulle cause della grandezza e della decadenza dei Romani
Sieyès, Che cos'è il Terzo Stato ?
Constant, La libertà degli antichi e dei moderni
Stuart Mill, Saggio sulla libertà
Proudhon, Che cos'è la proprietà ?

The course includes 48 hours of lessons.

The teacher receives the students after each lesson without appointment. Mail: