The Passions of Law (Critical America, 67)
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"The ostensible polarity between reason and emotion is central to many approaches to law. Susan Bandes offers valuable criticism of this view by noting the important roles that emotion and passion in fact play within the law. She has also brought together an outstanding collection of essays that, by addressing the issue from all perspectives, allows the reader to confront the issue in all of its complexity." -- Sanford Levinson,coeditor of Constitutional Stupidities/Constitutional Tragedies
"This splendid collection of engaging, user-friendly essays reveals in vivid detail how emotions are as much a part of the fabric of law as of the rest of life. Among the verdicts that emerge from these careful explorations is the long-overdue acquittal of passion on the charge of always sabotaging reason and justice." -- Elizabeth V. Spelman,Professor, Smith College, and author of Fruits of Sorrow: Framing Our Attention to Suffering
"An excellent collection of original essays . . .the current volume shines by being able to introduce these disparate approaches on emotions into a shared discourse." ― The Law and Politics Book Review
"An exciting intellectual adventure. If that type of voyage interests you, almost any page of this book will be a trip." ― New York Law Journal
About the Author
- Publisher : NYU Press (May 1, 2001)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 368 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0814713068
- ISBN-13 : 978-0814713068
- Item Weight : 1.25 pounds
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.96 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #3,089,747 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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This book is also important reading for those interested in social justice and using tax dollars to promote health, education and community instead of increasing America's rate of incarceration.
Susan Bandes' book, The Passions of Law, explodes the myth that emotion has no place in law. She has collected essays from some of the most respected legal theorists, philosophers and jurists of our time: Martha Nussbaum, Austin Sarat, Martha Minow, Chesire Calhoun, John Deigh, Danielle Allen, Dan Kahan, Robert Solomon, Toni Massaro, William Ian Miller, Jeffrie Murphy, Samuel Pillsbury, and Richard Posner. Emotions are rampant in law, the essayists observe, and often they are central to good decision making. For example, we allow defenses to murder for crimes committed in the heat of passion; in capital cases some states require juries to find a murder was "heinous, atrocious or cruel" before imposing a death sentence.
The theorists tackle a range of emotions - compassion, mercy, anger, vengeance, hatred, romantic love, remorse, and shame. One of the most intriguing colloquys is a debate between Yale law professor Dan Kahan and University of Chicago law, philosophy and divinity professor Martha Nussbaum on the propriety of considering disgust in law. Kahan advocates that disgust "is essential to accurate moral perception" and makes an interesting case why liberals should embrace disgust as a means of expressing social outrage: it is, for example, the idea behind enhanced penalties for hate crimes. Nussbaum counters that disgust has "been at the root of gross evils throughout history, prominently including misogyny, antisemitism, and loathing of homosexuals." Other theorists write about the invisibility of emotions, the relations between emotion and reason, and the reconstructive role of the legal system in shaping emotions.
The collected essays contain discussions of the most famous and provocative trials, legal issues, and atrocities of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries: Oscar Wilde's trial for obscenity, au pair Louise Woodward's murder trial, the trial of O.J. Simpson, the proposals of Catharine MacKinnon and Andrea Dworkin to regulate pornography, laws against sodomy and same sex marriage, the Oklahoma City bombing and the Holocaust.
The book is truly interdisciplinary, drawing on the criminal law, political philosophy, law and literature, gay legal theory, the classics, psychology, social theory, relgion, moral philosophy, and ethics. And the writing itself has sparks - it contains passion.
Few collections of essays are pathbreaking. Susan Bandes has compiled such a collection.