Re: [asa] Law, Mind, Free Will

From: Michael Roberts <>
Date: Tue Oct 28 2008 - 09:21:12 EDT

Do any of you want any British politics?
  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Alexanian, Moorad
  To: David Opderbeck ; Lynn Walker
  Cc: ASA
  Sent: Tuesday, October 28, 2008 1:19 PM
  Subject: RE: [asa] Law, Mind, Free Will

  There is no doubt that it is easier to "impose" one's agenda via the US Supreme Court and the Judiciary rather than the Legislature and even the Executive branches. Witness Roe vs. Wade. The next president has from one to three possible Supreme Court appointments.



  From: [] On Behalf Of David Opderbeck
  Sent: Tuesday, October 28, 2008 8:26 AM
  To: Lynn Walker
  Cc: ASA
  Subject: Re: [asa] Law, Mind, Free Will


  Interesting question Lynn. I see that quote is from Barack Obama. I'm not really sure I can discern anything about his intentions from that one quote. I see from the rest of the interview (which I'm assuming is authentic, but I don't know that for sure) that Obama is suggesting the legislature, rather than the courts, is the branch of government best suited to implementing broad economic changes. I see also that the author of the commentary attributes pernicious intent to Obama, specifically an underlying agenda to pursue socialism in the U.S. Personally I'm not sure such a broad conclusion can be drawn just from these statements. (I am trying, BTW, to heed the moderator's recent advice to avoid the political question of whether any policy agenda Obama may or may not have is a good thing, and to focus instead on the moral / scientific question of whether and to what extent we can know another person's intentions.)&nb sp;

  So the short answer is, taking Obama's words here at face value, his intent seems to be to implement economic change primarily through the legislature rather than primarily through the courts. Whether there is some deeper hidden agenda, I can't tell.

  On Tue, Oct 28, 2008 at 7:51 AM, Lynn Walker <> wrote:

  David, please see my question below.


      -----Original Message-----
      From: "David Opderbeck" <>

      Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2008 15:39:17 -0400
      Subject: [asa] Law, Mind, Free Will

      We had a fascinating talk at the law school today by a lawyer who is a behavioural psychologist. <snip>

      David W. Opderbeck - Associate Professor of Law Seton Hall University Law School Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology


  David, in response to your comments above, Louise Margaret Freeman wrote this:



    Experiments in moral judgment are a very hot topic in research right now and its quite clear that the capacity to discern another person's intentions plays a huge role in the development of moral reasoning.



  As a Professor of Law, what are you able to discern about the intentions (given the opportunity) of someone who made this statement?:


  ".. as radical as I think people tried to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn't that radical. It didn't break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution - at least as it's been interpreted, and Warren Court interpreted it in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties: [It] says what the states can't do to you, says what the federal government can't do to you, but it doesn't say what the federal government or the state government must do on your behalf. .."





  David W. Opderbeck
  Associate Professor of Law
  Seton Hall University Law School
  Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology

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Received on Tue Oct 28 09:21:32 2008

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