Law, Family, and the Person

JPI 668/868

This course closely examines the treatment of marriage, family, and the person, as well as the related issues of sexual difference, procreation, and biotechnology, under civil law. The course will be divided into three parts. The first part will offer a philosophical and historical context by examining a number of thinkers (e.g., Aristotle, St. Thomas, H. L. A. Hart, R. Dworkin, L. Irigaray, J. Butler), as well as a few legal cases and Church documents, in relation to the nature of law, the questions of natural law, law and the body, and so forth. The second part of the course will draw on this philosophical/anthropological foundation to examine the developing treatment of marriage and sexuality under the law, as present in important judicial opinions and other legal materials. Topics will include the so-called “fundamental right” to marriage, contraception, the “right to privacy” in the area of sexuality, “gay adoption,” and “same-sex marriage.” The third part of the course, also focusing on court cases and other legal materials, will address the treatment of the person in the developing context of biotechnology. Topics will include abortion, surrogate motherhood, artificial “reproduction,” cloning, and end-of-life issues.


Course Texts for Spring 2022

• St. Thomas, Treatise on Law (Hackett, 2000) ISBN-13: 978-0872205482
The Roots of Political Philosophy: Ten Forgotten Socratic Dialogues, ed. Thomas L. Pangle (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University, 1987) (Optional)
• H.L.A. Hart, The Concept of Law (Oxford University Press: any edition)
• Handouts

Associated Faculty

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