Faculty Profiles

Seana Shiffrin

Seana Shiffrin

Professor of Philosophy
Pete Kameron Professor of Law and Social Justice
B.A. UC Berkeley, 1988
B. Phil. Oxford, 1990
D. Phil Oxford, 1993
J.D. Harvard, 1996
UCLA Faculty Since 1993

LAW 557 - Contemporary Philosophy of Law

This seminar will investigate the moral wrong of negligence, focusing on why negligence is morally wrong and what the study of negligence may reveal about moral responsibility, aspects of moral theory, and questions about the connection between wrongs of this sort and different notions of liability.  Topics will also include: how negligence compares to reckless and to deliberate wrongdoing and attempts, including whether negligence is the lesser wrong, and whether these wrongs always relate to the same underlying duty of care; whether and how social and political circumstances may alter the underlying duty of care or expectations that ground judgments of negligence. 
We will also consider whether the notion of imperfect duty is helpful in investigating negligence, and vice versa.   The readings will draw primarily from contemporary philosophical sources in moral philosophy and the philosophy of law.  Students will be asked to do the reading, write short reaction papers, attend the seminar, participate, and write a longer (14-20 page) analytical research paper.   Admission to the seminar is by petition.  Interested students should write a paragraph explaining their interest in the subject and what background coursework in philosophy, if any, they have taken. Note: This course is concurrently taught as a philosophy graduate seminar and will be taught on the quarter schedule for ten weeks, beginning October 2.