Centers Of Excellence

Law & Philosophy Program

In collaboration with UCLA’s renowned Philosophy Department, our Law & Philosophy Program provides a resource-rich curriculum to lead students’ exploration of the nature of law and legal systems.

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The Foundations of Law

The Law & Philosophy Program offers an exceptional framework for study of the theoretical foundations of key doctrinal areas such as constitutional, criminal and contract law.

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.

Projects

Rich, Collaborative Programs

Our Legal Theory Workshop, a yearly graduate and law student conference, and the bi-annual Herbert Morris Lecture in Law and Philosophy bring well known academics to campus from across the world.

Students & Fellows

  • Current Postdocs

    David Beglin has just completed his graduate work at the University of California, Riverside, where he received his PhD in philosophy. Before pursuing his PhD, David worked at a high school in Boston, a position he took up after receiving his B.A. in philosophy and in history from the University of Rhode Island in 2010.

    David's current research project concerns the moral psychology and ethics of responsibility. In particular, he is developing a theory of responsible agency, the kind of agency we ascribe to someone when we hold that person to account for their actions and attitudes. This theory begins with an account of the moral psychological stance from which we hold people responsible. In addition to this project on responsibility, David has also published on philosophical issues concerning death. His work has appeared in academic journals such as Philosophical Studies and Ethics.

  • Past Postdocs

    Erik Encarnacion - Assistant Professor of Law, University of Texas at Austin

    Moran Yahav - Chief of Staff, Chambers of Justice Esther Hayut, President of the Supreme Court of Israel (beginning November 2019)

    Ariel Zylberman - Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy, University at Albany (SUNY) http://www.arielzylberman.com/

    Robert Hughes – Assistant Professor of Legal Studies and Business Ethics, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania; Lecturer, UCLA Department of Philosophy 2014-2015); National Institutes of Health, Department of Bioethics, Fellow (2010-2012) http://www.robertchughes.com/

    Matt King – Assistant Professor of Philosophy, University of Alabama at Birmingham

    Arudra Burra – Assistant Professor, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi

    David Plunkett – Associate Professor of Philosophy, Dartmouth

    Louis-Philippe Hodgson – Associate Professor of Philosophy, Glendon College, York University

    Sari Kisilevsky – Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Queens College CUNY

    Daniela Dover - Assistant Professor of Philosophy, UCLA

    Stephen Nayak-Young - Visiting Assistant Professor, San Francisco State University

  • Predoctoral Fellows

    Jordan Wallace-Wolf
    B.A. Yale University, 2008
    M.A. Tufts University, 2011
    J.D. UCLA Law School, 2017
    Ph.D. Candidate UCLA, 2020

    Jordan Wallace-Wolf is a PhD candidate in the philosophy department. His current focus is on privacy, with his dissertation research being on the privacy interest that persons have in their thoughts, including their interest in reading, writing, and conversing without being observed by others. His legal interests include tort law generally, privacy torts specifically, and digital privacy regulation. In April 2019, he was a recipient for the Department of Philosophy of UCLA's Distinguished Teaching Award for Teaching Assistants.

  • JD / PhD

    Brian Hutler
    B.A. New York University, 2006
    J.D. UCLA School of Law, 2014
    Ph.D. UCLA Department of Philosophy, 2018

    Brian Hutler is 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.

    Sabine Tsuruda
    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.

For Students

  • 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. More information on the interdisciplinary J.D. specialization.

    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. More information on the specialization for Philosophy Graduate students.

    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. More information on the LL.M. specialization.

    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. More information on the joint degree program.

  • Courses

    Core Courses:

    Law 217. Introduction to Legal Philosophy (strongly recommended)
    Law 418. Contemporary Philosophy of Law
    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)
    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 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 543. Colloquium on Tax Policy & Public Finance (if student writes a philosophically informed, theoretical paper with the instructor’s approval) 
    Law 655. Seminar: Feminist Legal Theory

    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:

    Philosophy Courses:

    Upper Division Courses

    Philosophy C127. Philosophy of Language
    Philosophy 129. Philosophy of Psychology
    Philosophy 154. Topics in Value Theory: Rationality and Action

    Graduate Seminars

    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. The fellow 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.

    The application deadline for this year's post doctoral fellowship has passed. Please visit this page in the future for information on the next available fellowship.

    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., LL.M., or S.J.D.) or a doctorate in philosophy, to be granted no later than June 30, 2020. Competitive salary, small research stipend, plus full benefits. Start date is July 1, 2020.

    Interested candidates should apply online by submitting pdf copies of 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 by Friday, November 15, 2019. Letters submitted online may be addressed to the attention of the Search Committee, 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.

    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.

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