This course provides an introduction to the overarching concepts of constitutional law in a comparative fashion. It draws on the political and legal systems of the United States, China, Brazil, the United Kingdom, France and Germany, in order to highlight differences and similarities across a diversity of constitutional traditions. During this course, you will become acquainted with the fundamental features of the systems of government referred above; acquire insights about recent philosophical discussions on judicial review and the different ways in which it can be designed; reflect on how features of the constitutional systems referred above may help to explain and understand current social phenomena (e.g. political polarization); and reflect on whether and how traditional concepts of constitutional law may be revised in order to cope with recent developments in the global and transnational arena. At the same time in which this course will draw on traditional doctrinal analyses of constitutional law, it will also draw on relevant side-literature, especially of constitutional theory and of political, social and legal philosophy.
During the seminar we will discuss and confront different accounts and responses to evil that come from moral philosophy and psychology, and legal philosophy (this will include discussion of classical and contemporary philosophical texts on the nature of evil, recent empirical findings on social and psychological factors involved in it, and legal philosophical questions about whether and what type of punishment it deserves).
The goal of the course is to acquaint the students with one of important problems of philosophy, science and daily life, but also to help them strengthen their critical thinking, writing and argumentative skills.