Special Topics in Jurisprudence

SLN #: 76413
Course Prefix: LAW-791
Course Section: 022
Credit Hours: 2
Instructor(s): Murphy

Course Description:
A full understanding of law requires an exploration of the passions (emotions)that can generate or be engaged by the law. Consider criminal punishment. Many like to say that they support punishment because of their sense of justice--the desire that justice be done. Nietzsche, however, argues that this is simply a self- serving covering rationale for what is really going on: using the law to institutionalize such base passions as cruelty, envy, malice, and spite--the cluster of passions that Nietzsche calls ressentiment. Small wonder, then, that he wrote: "Mistrust all those in whom the urge to punish is strong."

In addition to the Nietzschean worry raised above, we will explore a variety of passions with possible legal relevance. Guilt and shame are obvious examples. Some other examples: Should any legal doctrine be driven by disgust? Does love (agape/caritas) have any legitimate role in law? How should law respond to various forms of sexual desire? Should the law seek to satisfy the vindictive passions of those who believe that they have been wronged? Should strong passions--e.g., sexual jealousy--excuse or diminish responsibility for conduct? Should forgiveness (overcoming the emotion of resentment) or mercy (leniency grounded in compassion) have a place in the law? Is a crime motivated by hatred worse than a crime not so motivated? What is the fear of death and what is its role in the death penalty? Anyone seeking more information about the seminar should contact me in my office (Law 203), on the telephone (965-5856) or email (jeffrie.murphy@asu.edu).

Additional Information:
Credit Hours: 2
Grading Option: Letter Grade Only
Written Assignment: No
Graduation Writing Requirement: No
Flexible Writing Requirement: No
Skills Requirement: No
Experiential Learning: No
Prerequisite: None
Special Withdrawal Course: No
Limited Enrollment Number: 16
Final Exam Given: Yes
Final Exam Type: Take-Home
Mid Term Or Other Exam: No
Paper Or In-Class Presentation: No
Participation Points: Yes
Attendance Policy: Per Statement Of Student Policies
Additional Attendance Policy: Attendance required--more than one unexcused absence gives instructor the right to withdraw student from the seminar

* The law school has a policy that Is used To calculate credit hours. Please see the Statement of Student Policies.