Our popular Legal Theory Workshop, along with other special events including the distinguished, bi-annual Herbert Morris Lecture in Law and Philosophy, bring eminent scholars to UCLA Law to contribute to a comprehensive discussion of legal theory and practice. Our Law and Philosophy Reading Room Collection offers an outstanding selection of academic works and a quiet space for reading and philosophical conversation.
Rich, Collaborative Programs
The Legal Theory Workshop series, which is offered regularly throughout the year, brings prominent speakers from other universities to UCLA Law.
The Herbert Morris Lecture showcases scholars who have made significant contributions to the field of legal philosophy.
Who We Are
- Faculty Director
Sharon DolovichProfessor of Law
Faculty Director, UCLA Prison Law & Policy Program
Director, UCLA Law COVID Behind Bars Data Project
Blake EmersonProfessor of Law
Joseph FishkinProfessor of Law
Stephen GardbaumStephen Yeazell Endowed Chair in Law
Mark GreenbergMichael H. Schill Endowed Chair in Law and Professor of Philosophy
Barbara HermanGriffin Professor of Philosophy
Professor of Law
Pamela HieronymiProfessor, UCLA Department of Philosophy
A. J. JuliusAssociate Professor, UCLA Department of Philosophy
Stephen R. MunzerDistinguished Research Professor of Law
Seana ShiffrinProfessor of Philosophy
Pete Kameron Professor of Law and Social Justice
Rebecca StoneProfessor of Law
Andrew VersteinProfessor of Law
Faculty Co-Director, Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy
Students & Fellows
Thomas Byrne is a Law and Philosophy Postdoctoral Fellow at UCLA School of Law and will teach Introduction to Legal Philosophy. His research lies in moral theory, metaphysics and their intersection. He currently works as a Postdoctoral Associate at MIT’s Department of Linguistics and Philosophy.
Byrne received his B.A and MPhil. Stud., both in philosophy, at King’s College London and his Ph.D in philosophy from MIT.
Byrne’s publications have appeared in Philosophers’ Imprint and Philosophical Studies.
Thomas Byrne will be teaching Philosophy 166 - Philosophy of Law, in Winter 2023.
Vishnu Sridharan is a Law and Philosophy Postdoctoral Fellow at UCLA School of Law and teaches classes on the intersection of law, philosophy, and race. His research is currently focused on the surveillance, policing, and incarceration of low-income communities and communities of color. He previously worked for a number of nonprofits including Californians for Safety and Justice, the Insight Center for Community Economic Development, and Race Forward.
Sridharan received his B.A. cum laude from Columbia College, his J.D. from Stanford Law School, and his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California.
Sridharan's publications have appeared in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, the Australasian Journal of Philosophy, and Synthese, among others.
Vishnu Sridharan will be teaching Law 217 - Legal Philosophy, in Spring 2023
Louis-Philippe Hodgson – Associate Professor of Philosophy, Glendon College, York University https://www.glendon.yorku.ca/faculty-profile-details/?currentuserid=32257
Sari Kisilevsky – Associate Professor of Philosophy at Queens College CUNY https://www.qc.cuny.edu/academics/philosophy/sari-kisilevsky/
Arudra Burra – Assistant Professor, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi https://hss.iitd.ac.in/faculty/arudra-burra
David Plunkett – Professor of Philosophy, Dartmouth https://www.plunkett.host.dartmouth.edu/
Robert Hughes – Associate Professor of Professional Practice, Rutgers Business School http://www.robertchughes.com/
Matt King – Associate Professor and Director of the Philosophy and Law minor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham https://www.uab.edu/cas/philosophy/people/faculty/matt-king
Daniela Dover - Associate Professor of Philosophy, Tutorial Fellow in Philosophy, Merton College University of Oxford https://www.danieladover.net/
Stephen Nayak-Young - Associate at JLG Lawyers in Glendale, specializing in employment law
Erik Encarnacion - Assistant Professor of Law, University of Texas at Austin https://law.utexas.edu/faculty/erik-encarnacion/
Moran Yahav - Senior Legal Advisor to the President of the Supreme Court of Israel (beginning November 2019)
Ariel Zylberman - Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy, University at Albany (SUNY) https://www.albany.edu/philosophy/faculty/ariel-zylberman
Samuele Chilovi - Assistant Research Professor ("Ramón y Cajal fellow") in the Department of Theoretical and Practical Philosophy at the Institute of Philosophy (IFS), CSIC (Spanish National Research Council)
Andrew Currie was a Law and Philosophy Postdoctoral Fellow at UCLA School of Law and Department of Philosophy. His research focuses on philosophy of law and philosophical logic. He also has interests in metaphysics, philosophy of language, and constitutional law.
He completed his D.Phil. in philosophy at Oxford University. While at Oxford he was also a senior fellow at Melbourne Law School. Before that he clerked at the High Court of Australia (Australia’s final appellate and constitutional court) and worked as a litigator. He received his LL.B. at Melbourne Law School and B.A. at Melbourne University. https://curr.ie/
I am in my sixth year in the joint JD/PhD Law and Philosophy program at UCLA. My philosophical interests include Philosophy of Law, Normative Ethics, and Political Philosophy. In this academic year, I plan to graduate from the Law School and advance to PhD candidacy.
My current work involves different views of legal precedent: what it is; why and how it binds. I am currently working on a paper to fulfill the law school’s Substantial Analytic Writing (SAW) requirement, supervised by Professor Mark Greenberg (Philosophy, Law). In the paper, I consider views of the precedential effect of plurality decisions–decisions made by multi-member courts that are unable to agree on a majority opinion.
JD / PhD
B.A. New York University, 2006
J.D. UCLA School of Law, 2014
Ph.D. UCLA Department of Philosophy, 2018
Brian Hutler is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Temple University and a graduate of the Joint-Degree Program in Law and Philosophy offered by the UCLA School of Law and Department of Philosophy. Brian's dissertation, titled "Compromise, Religious Freedom, and the Liberal State," argues for a compromise-based conception of religious freedom in the context of liberal political philosophy. Following UCLA, Brian taught in the Philosophy Department at the University of Pennsylvania. As of Fall 2019, he is a Hecht-Levi Postdoctoral Fellow with the Berman Institute at Johns Hopkins University. Website.
B.A. Stanford University, 2006
M.A. Stanford University, 2007
J.D. UCLA School of Law, 2016
Ph.D. UCLA Department of Philosophy, 2018
Sabine Tsuruda is an Assistant Professor at Queen's University Faculty of Law. She graduated from the Joint J.D./Ph.D. Program in Law and Philosophy at UCLA, where she studied as a Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellow and served as a Senior Editor of the UCLA Law Review. Her dissertation, "Moral Agency and the Workplace," examines understudied aspects of the relationship between work, law, and moral agency through a series of case studies about managerial control, migrant work, unpaid work, and religious workplaces. Her current research examines employee speech rights and the political morality of workplace hierarchy.
- B.A. Yale University, 2008
- J.D. UCLA School of Law, 2017
- Ph.D. UCLA Philosophy Department, 2020
Jordan Wallace-Wolf is an Assistant Professor of Law in the William H. Bowen School of Law, UA Arkansas. Formerly, he was the Greenberg Legal Fellow at the UCLA School of Law. He received his J.D. and his Ph.D. in philosophy from UCLA. His dissertation, "Mental Privacy," focuses on the privacy interests that persons have in their thoughts, as well as the proper legal recognition of those interests in election law and criminal law. His current research areas include the privilege against self-incrimination, private law with an emphasis on negligence, and privacy in public space.
- Think Again: The Thought Crime Doctrine and the Limits of Criminal Law, 1 Journal of Free Speech Law 5 (2021)
- Nobody's Business: A Novel Theory of the Anonymous First Amendment, 49 Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly ___ (forthcoming 2021)
News and Events
Law & Philosophy News
Rebecca Stone won the 2023 Article Award from Jurisprudence Section of the American Association of Law Schools for her article "Private Liability without Wrongdoing."
Seana Shiffrin won the Hart-Dworkin Award in Legal Philosophy from the Jurisprudence Section of the American Association of Law Schools.
Breaking Down Barriers: At the Intersection of Law, Ethics and Political Theory
Breaking Down Barriers: At the Intersection of Law, Ethics and Political Theory
University of California, Los Angeles
Friday, November 17 and Saturday, November 18, 2023
UCLA School of Law
On November 17-18, 2023, the UCLA Law and Philosophy Program will convene a workshop on law, ethics, and political theory. Many topics that are receiving attention in analytic philosophy, political theory, and jurisprudence implicate questions that cross disciplinary boundaries. Examples of such topics include self-defense, burdens of proof, legal causation, political legitimacy, civil liability, private property, promising, consent, and punishment. The purpose of this UCLA convening is to bring together philosophers, legal scholars, and political theorists for in-depth discussion of works in progress. Through collaboration and critique, participants will apply an interdisciplinary lens to their respective areas of expertise.
The format of each presentation will be as follows: after a brief author introduction, a commenter will raise objections and lead a group discussion. To facilitate this format, participants are expected to attend the entire conference and read other authors’ papers. UCLA will provide breakfast and lunch on both days, as well as a dinner on Friday evening. Participants are expected to pay for their own travel and accommodation.
Abstracts of around 750 words should be sent to Vishnu Sridharan (firstname.lastname@example.org) by July 30, 2023. Notifications of acceptance will be sent by late August. Since the conference is read-ahead, those accepted to the workshop will be expected to distribute complete drafts of their works in progress by November 1, 2023. Special consideration will be given to those who have earned their PhD (or JD) within the past 10 years. A prize of $250 will be awarded for the best graduate or JD student submission. Please indicate in your submission that you qualify for the graduate student prize.
This is the tenth iteration of the North American Workshop in Private Law Theory (NAWPLT), an annual workshop that provides an informal venue for scholars from the Americas to discuss works in progress in the area of private law theory. In previous years, the workshop has been hosted by McGill, Harvard, the University of Toronto, Fordham, the University of Southern California, Yale, Western, and Brooklyn.
Participants read the papers in advance of the workshop so that the sessions can focus on Q&A. Law School and Philosophy Department faculty and students who are interested in attending any of the sessions who have not already indicated that they will attend the conference should email Becca Stone at email@example.com to get access to the papers (which will be available on or shortly after February 3).
Friday February 24
Emad Atiq, “Risk Aggregation and the Hand Formula”
Commentator: John Oberdiek
Moderator: Seana Shiffrin
Chaim Saiman, “Insurance: Just a Contract or a Just Contract”
Commentator: Aditi Bagchi
Moderator: Zoë Sinel
Joanna Langille, “The Subjects of Tort Law”
Commentator: Felipe Jiménez
Moderator: John Goldberg
Leslie Kendrick, “The Perils and Promise of Public Nuisance”
Commentator: Molly Brady
Moderator: Larissa Katz
Mala Chartterjee, “The Extended Self: A Framework of Information Rights”
Commentator: Courtney Cox
Moderator: Paul Miller
Manish Oza, “The Personality of Public Authorities
Commentator: Chris Essert
Moderator: Molly Brady
Saturday February 25
Nina Varsava, “Derivative Recognition and Intersystemic Interpretation”
Commentator: Jean Thomas
Moderator: Aditi Bagchi
Jeff Helmreich, “Strict Liability in Law and Morals”
Commentator: Jordan Wallace-Wolf
Moderator: Andrew Gold
Malcolm Lavoie, “The Subsidiarity of Property Law”
Commentator: Larissa Katz
Moderator: Felipe Jiménez
Legal Theory Workshop
The Legal Theory Workshop series, which is offered regularly throughout the year, brings prominent speakers from other universities. Students are encouraged to attend.
Degrees and Specializations
Interdisciplinary J.D. Specialization in Law and Philosophy
UCLA School of Law has a unique interdisciplinary specialization in law and philosophy. The specialization is designed for UCLA School of Law J.D. students who want to supplement their legal studies by exploring the philosophical foundations of law. The specialization is especially relevant to students interested in further graduate studies or exploring a career in academia. The specialization will expose students to material on the nature of law and legal systems, and on the theoretical underpinnings and justifications of particular doctrinal areas such as constitutional law, criminal law, and contract. Please visit the J.D. specialization page for more information.
Law & Philosophy Specialization for Philosophy Graduate Students
The specialization is designed for UCLA Philosophy Graduate students who want to supplement their legal studies by exploring the philosophical foundations of law. The specialization is especially relevant to students interested in further graduate studies or exploring a career in academia. The specialization will expose students to material on the nature of law and legal systems, and on the theoretical underpinnings and justifications of particular doctrinal areas such as constitutional law, criminal law, and contract. Please visit our page covering the specialization for Philosophy Graduate students for more information.
LL.M. Specialization in Law and Philosophy
The specialization is designed for UCLA School of Law LL.M. students who want to supplement their legal studies by exploring the philosophical foundations of law. The specialization is especially relevant to students interested in further graduate studies or exploring a career in academia. The specialization will expose students to material on the nature of law and legal systems, and on the theoretical underpinnings and justifications of particular doctrinal areas such as constitutional law, criminal law, and contract. Please visit our LL.M. specialization page for more information.
Joint J.D./Ph.D. Program in Law and Philosophy
The UCLA School of Law and the UCLA Department of Philosophy offer a joint JD/PhD program for exceptionally talented and especially committed students who hope to dedicate their careers to research and teaching in law and philosophy. Admission is extremely competitive, and very few students are admitted. It would be highly unusual for more than one candidate to be admitted in a year, and it is possible for no candidates to be admitted in an admission cycle. Please visit our joint degree program page for more information.
Law 217. Introduction to Legal Philosophy (strongly recommended)
Law 418. Contemporary Philosophy of Law
Law 533. Philosophy of Prisons and Punishment
Law 551. Philosophy of Punishment
Law 555. Legal Theory Workshop (strongly recommended - may be taken twice but only counted once toward the fulfillment of the Core List requirement)
Law 563. The Foundations of Legal and Moral Responsibility
Law 587. Free Speech Theory
Philosophy 166. Philosophy of Law – (strongly recommended) (This course is not part of the standard Law School curriculum and hence not subject to priority enrollment. Interested students should contact the instructor in the fall to request enrollment and notify the Faculty Director. Be aware that the course runs on the quarter system and starts in January term, running for 10 weeks.)
Other Qualifying Courses:
Law 266. Critical Race Theory
Law 308. Animals and the Law (if student writes a philosophically informed, theoretical paper with the instructor’s approval)
Law 389. Prison Law and Policy (if student writes a philosophically informed, theoretical paper with the instructor’s approval)
Law 273. International Human Rights Law – (if student writes a philosophically informed, theoretical paper with the instructor’s approval)
Law 376. Law and Dissent (if student writes a philosophically informed, theoretical paper with the instructor’s approval)
Law 567. Direct Democracy (if student writes a philosophically informed, theoretical paper with the instructor’s approval)
Law 543. Colloquium on Tax Policy & Public Finance (if student writes a philosophically informed, theoretical paper with the instructor’s approval)
Law 612. Reproductive Rights and Justice (if student writes a philosophically informed, theoretical paper with the instructor’s approval)
Law 649. Jewish Law: Ethics
Law 655. Seminar: Feminist Legal Theory
Law 668. The 8th Amendment Punishments Clause (if student writes a philosophically informed, theoretical paper with the instructor’s approval)
Law 699. Freedom of Speech: Theoretical and Comparative Perspectives
Perspectives Courses (Perspectives Courses may be counted toward the Law and Philosophy Specialization if the student undertakes to write a philosophically informed theoretical paper with the instructor’s approval; students may do this on their own or by adding an additional unit of independent study, assuming an appropriate work product. The Perspectives courses listed below are especially suitable for such purposes and specializers may gain priority enrollment to them.)
Foundations of Jewish Ethics
New Books on Constitutional Law and Legal Theory
Privacy and Power in the Digital Age
Stranger to Ourselves
Other courses and methods of fulfilling the specialization:
Independent Studies: In addition to these pre-approved courses, students are encouraged to enroll in independent studies with faculty members to do research and writing on theoretical issues concerning the law. Such independent studies may be done in conjunction with a course. In addition to the myriad philosophical issues concerning first year subjects such as contracts, torts, criminal law and constitutional law, many courses easily lend themselves to supplementary theoretical investigations, including but not limited to Tax, Remedies, Con Law II, Evidence, Family Law, Legal Ethics, and Copyright. These are merely examples and students are encouraged to design independent studies about philosophical issues concerning any area of interest. Students interested in using an independent study to fulfill a specialization requirement should locate a willing faculty member and also consult the Director of the Program. Students wishing to take more than the standard allotment of independent study units may petition the school to do extra independent study units to facilitate completion of the specialization.
Other graduate courses: Students are encouraged to petition to apply to count up to two upper-division or graduate courses offered by the UCLA Department of Philosophy toward the course work requirement. Advance approval from the instructor and the Faculty Director of the Program must be obtained. Offerings vary from year to year. Courses numbered in the 240s and 250s are likely to be most relevant. Visit the Philosophy Department website for further information about courses.
Courses are on the quarter system which starts and stops at different times than the semesters. In addition to those listed above, relevant courses offered this coming academic year include:
Upper Division Courses
Philosophy C127. Philosophy of Language
Philosophy 129. Philosophy of Psychology
Philosophy 154. Topics in Value Theory: Rationality and Action
Philosophy 246. Seminar: Ethical Theory
Other law and graduate courses: Many additional courses at the Law School and in the Philosophy Department, depending on their contents and readings, offered this year may be applied toward the specialization by petition. For example, students might consider taking Advanced Academic Legal Writing and writing a philosophical paper for the seminar. Visit the UCLA School of Law schedule and course description pages for more information. To gain credit by petition, students may be asked to submit a syllabus to show the course qualifies as a law and philosophy course and they may be asked to write their final paper on a theoretical subject (subject to instructor approval).
Further information about the requirements for the specialization is available on the Law and Philosophy Specialization MyLaw page. Students are also encouraged to contact the Faculty Director to discuss the specialization.
Post Doctoral Fellowship
UCLA School of Law and the UCLA Department of Philosophy are offering a one to two year research fellowship to a recent law school graduate or Ph.D. in philosophy. (A second year of the fellowship is available assuming satisfactory performance in the first year.) The fellowship is under the auspices of the UCLA Program in Law and Philosophy.
Fellows will be asked to teach two courses in the first year and one course in the second year of the fellowship, to attend and assist with the planning of Law and Philosophy events, to attend talks and conferences, and otherwise to participate actively in the law school and philosophy department communities. The bulk of his or her time will be devoted to independent research. Candidates should demonstrate a strong interest in a career involving teaching and research in law and philosophy. Typical candidates will have a post-graduate degree in law (e.g., J.D., LLM, or S.J.D.) or a doctorate in philosophy, but applicants with other relevant PhDs (e.g. a PhD in political theory) are encouraged to apply. All post-graduate degrees should be completed no later than June 30, 2022. The fellowship offers a competitive salary, small research stipend, and full benefits with a start date of July 1, 2022.
One or two postdoctoral fellowships will be available depending on funding.
Interested candidates should apply online at https://recruit.apo.ucla.edu/JPF06517.
Please submit PDF copies of the following: 1) a cover letter; 2) CV; 3) A research statement focusing on the candidate’s research interests in law and philosophy; 4) a writing sample; 5) a statement describing their experience and approach to fostering diversity in the classroom and the profession; and 6) three letters of recommendation. Letters submitted online may be addressed to the attention of Laura Elbaum, Manager, Program in Law and Philosophy, UCLA School of Law, Box 951476, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1476. Applicants with teaching experience should also include their teaching evaluations, a summary thereof, or other testimonials concerning their teaching experience.
For full consideration of your application, please apply by Thursday, November 18, 2021.
The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age or protected veteran status. For the complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy see: UC Nondiscrimination & Affirmative Action Policy. Women and members of under-represented communities are especially encouraged to apply.