University of Alabama
Department of Philosophy
334 ten Hoor Hall
Office hours: By appointment
PHL 442 Ticking Time Bombs: Philosophy and National Security, University of Alabama: As the “ticking time bomb” hypothetical typically goes, you are an intelligence agent or law enforcement officer who has detained the one terrorist with knowledge of how to prevent a large-scale attack. One may contort the hypothetical to make it as heart-rending as possible, but the ultimate question is whether you should torture the detainee in such an extreme scenario. These scenarios raise pressing practical and philosophical questions, but they need not be so extreme. This course examines the central legal and philosophical issues relating to national security, including terrorism, torture, the ethics of intelligence, the national security uses and risks of artificial intelligence, and the balance between security and liberty.
PHL 440 Seminar on Law: Legal and Philosophical Problems in Policing, University of Alabama: This course examines the central philosophical problems that arise within the law of policing. Topics include police authority, legitimacy, and the problem of political obligation; the relationship between police discretion and the rule of law; human dignity and brutality in policing; and special problems in laws governing entrapment, the police’s use of informants, and the police’s use of surveillance and emerging technology.
PHL 341: Law and Morality, University of Alabama: This course explores the philosophical underpinnings of four fundamental areas in the law school curriculum: Contract, Property, Tort, and Criminal Law. Landmark cases from each area will be examined, focusing upon philosophical analysis and moral evaluation of the law. Course readings will consist primarily of summaries of legal case opinions.
PHL 243: Philosophical Issues in Constitutional Law, University of Alabama: This course explores the central philosophical issues raised in constitutional law, including constitutional structure, separation of powers, representation, the rule of law, principles of legislation, and judicial review and interpretation. The course also examines how these issues become manifest in actual cases, in the context of both government powers and civil liberties.
PHL 240: Philosophy and the Law, University of Alabama: Should laws about sex and pornography be based on social conventions regarding what is offensive? Are emotions reliable guides for human behavior and what the law should be? This course examines the nature of the law and its relation to morality, with a special emphasis on whether emotions such as shame and disgust should be the basis for criminalization and punishment. The course draws upon a rich variety of philosophical, psychological, and historical references—from Aristotle to Freud—and on legal examples as diverse as the trials of Oscar Wilde, the Martha Stewart insider trading case, and recent controversies about free speech on campus.
PHL 230: Political Philosophy, University of Alabama: An examination of the nature of political society, purported justifications of the modern state, the problems of state legitimacy and political obligation, the nature of social justice, the case for democratic government, and issues in international political philosophy.
CRJU-365: Diversity Issues in the Criminal Justice System, Radford University (2019): The objective of this course is to engage in philosophical analysis of social class, gender, and ethnicity issues related to criminal justice. Emphasis will be on exploring the impact that these issues have on historical and current experiences within the context of U.S. culture and contemporary notions of justice.
CRJU-450: Criminal Justice and the Law School Experience, Radford University (2018 – 2020): The objective of this course is to examine the philosophical underpinnings of four core subjects covered during the first year of law school (Contract, Property, Tort, and Criminal Law). The course covers the landmark cases from each area–focusing upon philosophical analysis and moral evaluation of the law–and begins with a discussion of the basic principles of a constitutional democracy.
CRJU 691: Public Policy and Criminal Justice (graduate), Radford University (2018): This course explores two topics: (1) Dysfunction in the criminal justice system regarding fairness and equality before the law, and (2) the process of policy analysis that might lead to practical reforms preventing injustice.
CRJU 655: Constitutional Law and the Criminal Justice System (graduate), Radford University (2018): This course examines issues in constitutional law (primarily the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments) and criminal justice—particularly with respect to law enforcement and courts.
POSC 439: Constitutional Law: Civil Liberties, Radford University (2018): The objective of this course is to examine the theoretical bases, popular support, judicial interpretation, and role of civil liberties in the United States.
POSC 438: Constitutional Law: Government Powers, Radford University (2017 – 2018): The objective of this course is to examine the constitutional powers exercised by the federal government. The emphasis will be on intergovernmental relations, separation of powers, the role of the Supreme Court in constitutional process, and general theories of constitutional government.
CRJU 360: Criminal Law and Evidence, Radford University (2016 – 2020): The objective of this course is to examine one of the central questions raised by criminal law: What are the just standards for criminal liability? In seeking answers to this question, the course explores the nature of criminal law and the basic requirements and scope of criminal liability. Specific topics will include the essential elements of crimes, the significance of harm, inchoate offenses, justification defenses, excuse defenses, and the relationship between crime and morality. These topics are covered through reading about actual legal cases
CRJU 233: Courts and the Criminal Process, Radford University (2016 – 2017): This course examines four components of our legal system: (1) The nature and structure of the judiciary, (2) the nature and structure of the criminal process, (3) judicial review, and (4) legal interpretation. The first two components cover a variety of topics relevant to courts and the criminal process generally, while the last two components focus upon the U.S. Supreme Court.
PHIL 1510: Legal and Moral Culpability, University of Virginia (2016): The objective of this course is to examine one of the central philosophical questions raised by criminal law: What are the just standards for criminal liability? For example, is legal culpability for inchoate offenses (those that may involve no harm) and strict liability offenses (those that may involve not fault) morally justified? If so, what sorts of standards ought to be used? More generally, what sorts of mental states and physical acts justify one’s criminal liability, and in what way do those mental states and physical acts relate to moral culpability? These and other questions will be addressed through a careful reading of actual legal cases that draw out the implications of legal and philosophical theory.
PHIL 1510: Philosophy of Law, University of Virginia (2015): The objective of this course was to examine the philosophical underpinnings of four core areas of common law: Contract, Property, Tort, and Criminal Law. The course covered the landmark cases from each area–focusing upon philosophical analysis and moral evaluation of the law–and began with a discussion of liberalism, constitutional law, and the “Hart-Dworkin Debate.”
PHIL 1510: Philosophy of Criminal Law, University of Virginia (2015): The objective of this course was to examine the philosophical underpinnings of both criminal law and procedure, covering the landmark cases in each area. The substantive sections emphasized human nature and social norms, while the procedural sections emphasized criminal justice.
PHIL 2060: Philosophical Problems in Law (TA), University of Virginia (2014): This course focused on such problems as the nature and extent of legal liability, strict liability statutes, “Good Samaritan” laws, the legal enforcement of community moral standards, and the justification of punishment and capital punishment.
PHIL 2770: Political Philosophy (TA), University of Virginia (2013): This course examined several of the most important problems in political philosophy, including the justification of the state, the problem of political obligation, the requirements of social justice, the justification of democracy, the state’s right to punish, property rights, and the duties of states to those outside their borders.