Alternate Title: Government, Capitalism & Ideology in America. This is a course in American political development. The focus is upon three things: (a) the role of government in capitalism; (b) economic, fiscal and social welfare policy; and (c) the development of American political ideology concerning the same. These issues are traced across three historical epochs: pre-industrial America; the progressive era from 1890s through the New Deal; and contemporary politics from the Great Society through Obama.
Alternate titles: Supreme Court Decision Making\Philosophy & Development of Legal Judging. Course focuses on two subjects: how justices should decide (jurisprudence) and how they do decide (behaviorism). The first half of the course is the history of legal justification as told by legal culture and philosophers. The second half is an examination of the empirical evidence about judicial decision making, which culminates in a theoretical model that tries to harmonize philosophy with empiricism. Course has a multidisciplinary focus.
Alternate Title: Wittgenstein & the Post-Analytic Mind.Students learn who Ludwig Wittgenstein was, and why he is relevant. They learn to engage in intellectual behaviors that are described as “post analytic.” Through the biography of Wittgenstein's life, students learn about language meaning, philosophy as therapy rather than argumentation, aspect-seeing (insight), pictures of account, and dissolving confusions rather than “winning debates.” They also become exposed to the values of intellectual sincerity and shunning pretense, and see the terrible complexity of genius – including negative aspects of Wittgenstein's life, such as condescension and sexism. The final part of the course helps students apply the thinking techniques they have learned to selected topics in law and science. Ultimately, this class hopes to make students into more insightful thinkers.
American Constitutional Development
Course focuses on the theory, history and design of institutional power. Has a developmental concern: begins with the English revolution, moves toward American founding and then examines the ascendancy of the federal organ and the evolution of separation of powers.
Students learn about lawyering, judging, process and common legal transactions in trial courts from an inside perspective. They learn about evidence, procedure, common legal issues, trial judging, and the basic rules of torts, contracts, family law and criminal law/procedure. There is also a version of the class exclusively for criminal justice. Focus is more upon the definition of crime and defense, how lawyers defend the accused, discovery and procedure, trial judging, famous criminal trials, public defenders, prosecutors and sentencing systems.
Law, Lawyers & The System
Focus is upon new trends in philosophy of law or legal theory. Current class pays particular attention to the originalism movement and also upon Wittgenstein & Law.
Modern Legal Theory
Focuses is upon the institutions of American government and their development. Care is taken to explore the colonial period and framing. The institutions are then developed through modernity. By the end of the course, students consider whether different institutions or processes (including election systems) might work better or worse.
Course is broken into three parts: (1) creation & early development (through Jackson); (2) the modern institution of the 1900's (role in government and legal transformation); and (3) resources, styles, effectiveness, contemporary issues and the rule of law.
Struggle for Civil Rights
An examination of the struggle of various groups to attain the promise of the American experiment. Covers race, gender, sexual orientation, native North Americans, religious non-conformists, immigrants, illegal aliens, labor and even the fetus. As these stories are told, students consider the following questions: (1) what causes political movements; (2) what causes success or failure; (3) what role do courts play in the struggle; and (4) what relation does law have to society?