Public University of Navarre

Castellano | Academic year: 2023/2024 | Previous academic years:  2022/2023  |  2021/2022  |  2020/2021  |  2019/2020 
Bachelor's degree in Law at the Universidad Pública de Navarra
Course code: 351101 Subject title: PHILOSOPHY AND THEORY OF LAW
Credits: 6 Type of subject: Basic Year: 1 Period: 1º S
Department: Derecho
URDANOZ GANUZA, JORGE (Resp)   [Mentoring ]

Partes de este texto:


Module/Subject matter




The existence of the law has always been a matter of philosophical reflection. Which are the differences between law and justice? What requirements must observe a particular obligation to be considered "law"? Which are the differences between law and other normative orders, as tradition or religious faith? Which must be the foundation of the laws? Is it possible to disobey an unfair law?


Philosophy and theory of law deals with these issues and many others. Since it is a philosophical discipline, its distinctive feature is precisely its radicalism. It does not examine the surface of the legality or the mere existence of legal codes, but questions its origin, its meaning, its foundation, its possibilities for improvement, etc.


General proficiencies

C.G.1.- Analysis and synthesis

C.G.16.- Autonomous learning

C.G.2.- Organization and planning

C.G.22.- Capacity of reasoning and reflection


Specific proficiencies


CE a8  Capacity of legal relationship and argumentation. CE a9 Capacity of legal reasoning and basic juridical reflection. CEA1.- Capacity to read and to interpret basic legal texts CE a5 Capacity to examine and to summarize basic legal questions.


Learning outcomes

  • Developing capacity for analysis and synthesis and conceptual relationship
  • Development of logical and coherent reasoning
  • Facilitating the exercise of critical thinking
  • Develop skills and abilities to search for legal information
  • Facilitate the search for criteria and guidelines for knowledge selection
  • Ability to compare, contrast arguments and draw synthetic conclusions
  • Learning to recognize the law as a system of regulation and sanctioning of social relations, as well as its role in social life.
  • Ability to distinguish and differentiate different regulatory systems, compare and evaluate them, from the perspectives of validity, justice and legal effectiveness.
  • To become aware of the unitary and structured nature of the legal system, as well as the need for an interdisciplinary vision of the most relevant legal problems.
  • To know and understand the concept of sources of law and the various modes of creation, interpretation and application of law.
  • To develop a critical sense when exposing and analyzing, historically, the relationship between Law, Power and Ideology.
  • Knowledge of the most relevant theoretical answers to problems of values such as: justice, freedom or legal security.
  • Learning to argue and reason about the validity, obedience and legitimacy of legal rules.
  • Ability to develop logical, structured and coherent reasoning on nuclear legal issues.
  • Knowledge of the tradition and historical foundations of the Philosophy of Law, with emphasis on political, cultural and social assumptions.




  Methodology ¿ Activity Classroom hours Non classroom hours
Lectures 30  
Practice 30 15
Reading   25
Individual study   36
Exams, evaluation tests 2  
Individual classes   2
Computer Skills for Lawyers On-line Course      10
Total 62 88



Learning outcomes Evaluation method Weight (%) Recovery Minimun grade
R142, R145, R160, R161, R16, R44, R1, R96, R135, R118, R19, R43, R105. Attendance and participation in Lectures and practical exercises. 10% NO  
R40, R20, R142, R145, R160, R137, R161, R16, R44, R1, R96, R135, R118, R19, R43, R105. Papers throughout the semester. 35% YES  
R145, R160, R161, R16, R44, R1, R135, R118, R19, R105, R43. Final test. 50% YES 2.5
R137. On line course evaluation. 5% NO  


If you get less than 2.5 in the final exam, then your maximum grade for the subject could be 4.9.










The course is organized around six major modules which include some of the big questions of the reflection about law. Each of those modules originates many other contents.


1 - What is law? Fundamentals of Theory of Law.


Rules, their structure and classes.  Rules and principles. Primary and secondary rules.  The logic of law. Vagueness, imprecision and other formal properties.


2 - Is there any moral content in law? Law, Morality and Religion.


Law, morality, religion and social traditions. Natural law, positivism. Formalism, realism, normativism.


3 - Is it compulsory to obey the law? The matter of dissent.


Law and justice. Obedience to law. Theories of civil disobedience. Voluntarism and the hypothesis of consent. Legal utilitarianism. Kantian perspective.


4 - Is punishment justified? If so, what punishment is fair? Why?


Penal proportionality. Neutrality of the law. Paternalism and protectionism. The liberal theory. Dignity and authority.


5 - Should judges interpret law? How?


Application of law, legal interpretation and legal argumentation



6 ¿ Law, Theory of Democracy and Human Rights.


Human rights. Law, sovereignty and cosmopolitanism. The role of values¿¿. Legal and political constitutionalism. 




Access the bibliography that your professor has requested from the Library.

  There is not an official textbook for the subject. The notes taken in class should be sufficient to pass the final test in January.   Secondary bibliography will be provided every day with each topic. You should use that bibliography to prepare your final paper.  You can use the following books as an introduction to the course: ¿ Philosophy of Law: a very short introduction. Raymond Wacks. Oxford University Press, 2006.  ¿ Arguing About Law, Aileen Kavanagh and John Oberdiek. Routledge, 2009.  







See assigned classroom.