Review Comment

[PHIL V3752] Philosophy of Law

January 12, 2021

Moody-Adams, Michele Silver_nugget
[PHIL V3752] Philosophy of Law

I loved this class. Professor Moody-Adams is an incredible professor, and it's clear that she cares deeply about her students and her work. This class tackles a lot of ethical debates regarding the practice and interpretation of the law, and I thought all of the content was genuinely interesting (many of the readings are fairly contemporary). The class is split into sections, starting with the theoretical nature of law and transitioning into schools of legal interpretation like textualism and living constitutionalism. You end on a much more applicable and modern section on mass incarceration. Throughout the course, Professor Moody-Adams introduces interesting contemporary legal debates on things like hate speech, product liability, and healthcare. She mixes up the content a lot, so there's plenty of areas to find interest. Professor Moody-Adams also spends most of the class clarifying the main points of the readings (which tend to vary and can be dense but aren't overly burdensome). No surprises on the essay prompts or exams, and grading is not difficult as long as you do the readings.


2 essays (first one is 3-5 pages and 20% of grade, second is 4-6 pages and 25% of grade), a midterm essay and final essay (20% and 25% respectively), and weekly blog postings of about 300 words (10% of grade)

January 05, 2021

Moody-Adams, Michele Silver_nugget
[PHIL V3752] Philosophy of Law

I feel like I need to break this review into two parts: Michele Moody-Adams (MMA, as she often refers to herself) the PERSON, and MMA the PROFESSOR.

MMA the PERSON is the bomb. She’s a legend, for more reasons than I can count, but it never seemed as though she lets it go to her head. She’s super kind, super understanding, and never made me or, as far as I can tell, anyone else, feel unintelligent. She was highly accessible outside of class as well.

My review of MMA the PROFESSOR is a bit more qualified. I had two issues with the course. First — expectations for assignments were sometimes vague or unclear. Second — the syllabus was kind of a mess. Lots of good material on it, to be sure, but, especially towards the second half of the course, a lot of disparate content was thrown at us without links between classes or units being made clear. It sometimes felt unclear how we were meant to tie everything together.

But the benefits of studying under MMA outweigh those costs by a long-shot. Had I not exercised the pass/fail option on the course, it would have caused my GPA to take a small hit, but I’d still take it again in a heartbeat, even without that safeguard in place.

Overall rating: 9/10.


Solid amount.

- 8 “blog posts” (100-300 words)
- 2 papers (4-6 pages)
- 1 take-home midterm (~8 pages total)
- 1 take-home final (~5 pages total, only meant to take you 3 or 4 hours)

December 20, 2020

Moody-Adams, Michele Silver_nugget
[PHIL V3752] Philosophy of Law

Professor Moody-Adams is an absolute joy to learn from. She might be the kindest professor I've ever had, and somehow it comes through in the way she lectures. The syllabus is very compelling, the assignments are engaging, and the lectures are all insightful and interesting. She also opens up to questions/discussions very frequently, so it can even feel like a seminar sometimes. She assigns really interesting readings and lectures incisively about them, often leaving us with loads of questions to think about for ourselves. If you have even the remotest interest in law, take this class!! it was an absolute pleasure.


One midterm, two essays, one final, and eight 300-word blog posts. About 2-3 hours of reading per class.

November 22, 2020

Moody-Adams, Michele Silver_nugget
[PHIL V3752] Philosophy of Law

I'm currently in her Philosophy of Law class and I am confident that even by next year, this will remain my favorite course at Columbia. She is beyond intelligent, so caring and kind, and will thank YOU for showing up to her office hours. You would think someone of her stature and position in the philosophy world, and having been the previous dean of Columbia College, would make her distant, but out of the five classes, I'm taking this year (some of which are TA based,) she has remained the most engaging and available for her students.

The class is definitely difficult but it is so worth it. I implore you to take this class even if you aren't interested in philosophy or law, because you will definitely not want to miss out on having her as your professor.


2 Essays
1 Midterm
Weekly blog posts
Got a B+ on first essay, A- on midterm and A on second essay. Averaging out 4/5 or 5/5 on blog posts. Not harsh grading.

June 10, 2019

Moody-Adams, Michele Silver_nugget
[PHIL V3752] Philosophy of Law and [PHIL 3701 ] Ethics

I took Prof. Moody-Adams (or MMA for short) for both Philosophy of Law and Ethics. In short, she's an incredibly knowledgeable individual and I love her dearly, but many people might find her class to be a bit boring and just covering the readings. If that's enough of a review for you, great. If you want more info, read on.

MMA is super smart. She went to Oxford with a Marshall Scholarship and John Rawls was her advisor at Harvard. The biggest highlight of taking her classes is going to office hours and talking to her. You'd think she's exaggerating when she says that she learns from each and every one of her students, but talking to her you get the impression that she genuinely enjoys spending time with you and treats her students as equals when it comes to philosophical discussions. I also found her to be a good lecturer in that she does a great job of explaining the readings and key concepts. The drawback is that I found her lectures to be quite dry in that she simply went through the readings and philosophers we were studying. Precisely because she is so intelligent, I was hoping to get more of her own input on things, so she won't shy away from controversy or telling you what she really thinks about someone or something.

Overall, a great prof for the classes she's teaching, and if you put in the work (i.e. do all the readings), getting an A isn't that hard.


Quite a few readings, usually 3 per class (and classes are twice a week) though can be anywhere from 2-4. They vary in length too, so you might be lucky and have 3 5-page readings, or maybe you're studying Kant and have 70 pages a week. If you take good notes though, the tests and essays are easy.

August 18, 2016

Moody-Adams, Michele Silver_nugget
[PHIL V3752] Philosophy of Law and [PHIL 3701] Ethics

Professor Moody- Adams is an incredible woman who knows literally everything. i took her philosophy of law class in the fall and her ethics class in the spring and both were great choices. Moody is an incredibly organized professor, and the readings she assigns are never too long or useless. she covers the reading in class and posts her power points on courseworks. i still think its incredibly worthwhile to go to lecture though because she further elaborates on the major themes of the reading, and engages the class in discussion. by the end of both semesters i left feeling like i had a new perspective on what law is and what ethics means to me.


light : both classes are essay based (3 essays), in class midterm for both (no worries, just do the reading and go to most lectures)

December 18, 2012

Engel, Nicholas (TA) Gold_nugget
[PHIL V3752] Philosophy of Law

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

As previous reviewers have already written thoroughly on the intelligence, ability, and attractiveness of Nick, I am going to focus on how dedicated he is. Actually, let facts do the talk:

Fact 1: He hosted extra office hours the Sunday before Hurricane Sandy landed Manhattan. I believe the last appointment was after 10 PM.
Fact 2: That wasn't the only time he hosted extra office hours. He always made time to meet the students, even though he was extremely busy.
Fact 3: He would read someone's draft even if that person was not in his session. (there were three sessions in this class)
Fact 4: If he ever promised someone something during a conversation, he made that happen.
Fact 5: There weren't recitation sessions for Philosophy of Law (there should be!), however he and Jonathan Fine (the other TA) volunteered to host a review session for the students.
Fact 5.1: The food at the review session was good.
Fact 6: He always made one feel welcomed
Fact 7: He said he loved teaching.
Fact 8: He was very helpful.

Observation 1: He loves philosophy, especially moral philosophy (*meta-ethics). Ask him about it.
Observation 2: He gives amazing study tips. Follow them.

Conclusion 1: He cares about his students.
Conclusion 2: You will miss a lot if you don't get to know him personally.

Final thesis:
-To students: If you ever get a chance to pick you teaching assistant, I highly recommend you to choose Nick.
-To the rest: Tenure him.


It's up to you.

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