Philosophy of Law

Academic year
Subject Area
Philosophical Legal
Language of Instruction
Mode of Delivery
ECTS Credits
2nd Cycle Studies - Mestrado

Recommended Prerequisites

No specific prerequisites are recommended.

Teaching Methods

Participation in seminars, written comments to texts, construction of an original paper, with presentation and discussion in class.

Learning Outcomes

This seminar aims to discuss the problem of Law in a situation like ours, wounded by the celebration of difference and plurality (plurality of practices, discourses, interpretive communities, civilisational horizons). Does this situation require (and allow for) an understanding and experience of juridicalness, which goes on making a constitutive bet on a conclusion-claim of autonomy? Does this situation rather impose an understanding-experience which repudiates the meaning of this claim, which puts in doubt its  plausibility or punctuality, which at least ignores it? And what is the role that a claim of universality can and should play in this discussion?

Work Placement(s)



1. The demands of our present situation reconstructed at the intersection of two diagnoses of crisis (of law and philosophy of law).

2. Practices and legal discourses confronted with the four "signs" of plurality.

3. Three different understandings of the claim of autonomy: the normativistic conception (in different versions), the self-referential and autopoietic systemic conception, the possibilities of jurisprudentialism.

4. The rejection of the claim of autonomy, pursued in two irreconcilable poles: the pragmatic functionalistic and the humanistic approaches.

5. Law as a practical cultural project and the misunderstandings of the positivism / non-positivism debate. Exploring the framework (the thematic limits and the answer’s possibilities) of a certain familiar Anglo-Saxon debate between positivists and non-positivists — more accurately, between exclusive, inclusive and incorporationist versions of positivism and exclusive, inclusive and super-inclusive versions of non-positivism.

Head Lecturer(s)

José Manuel Aroso Linhares

Assessment Methods

Research work: 100.0%


CASTANHEIRA NEVES – A crise actual da Filosofia do Direito no contexto da crise global da Filosofia. Tópicos para a possibilidade de uma reflexiva reabilitação, STVDIA IVRIDICA, 72, Coimbra, Coimbra Editora, 2003.

– Digesta, vol. 3º, Coimbra Editora, Coimbra, 2008, pp. 9-128.


AROSO LINHARES – O direito como mundo prático autónomo: “equívocos” e possibilidades. Relatório com a perspectiva, o tema, os conteúdos programáticos e as opções pedagógicas de um seminário de segundo ciclo em Filosofia do direito, polic., Coimbra 2013

- «Law’s Cultural Project and the Claim to Universality or the Equivocalities of a Familiar Debate», International Journal for the Semiotics of Law, Springerlink Online First, (doi) 10.1007/s11196-011-9233-x.