Law & Psychology: Differing Assumptions (1/16)

Topics: Sigmund Freud, Mind, Law Pages: 2 (326 words) Published: February 24, 2013
Law and Psychology
Differing Assumptions

rational man
free will
hedonistic underpinning
moral underpinning

The law presumes people are rational.

Hedonism - maximize pleasure, avoid pain

Some Major Thinkers
“Good and evil, reward and punishment, are the only motives to a rational creature: these are the spur and reins whereby all mankind are set on work, and guided.” Bentham
Principle of utility, which approves of an action in o far as an action has an overall tendency to promote the greatest amount of happiness. Happiness is identified with pleasure and the absence of pain.

Man really acts in accordance with laws he cannot truly influence No real free will
Laws to be uncovered
Basis for much science

Major Thinkers
Marx (won’t be on exam)
Excess Value - the rich live off of the labor of the poor
Economic Determinism - your lot in life is driven by economic forces beyond your control determined by how you were born; if you were born poor, you’ll stay poor and if you were born rich, you’ll stay rich Darwin (won’t be on exam)

Postulates an unconscious mind
Id, Ego and Superego
Unconscious Id makes irrational demands on people
Ego tries to manage conflict with these three and the outside world Watson
People are conditioned to act in a certain way regardless of their will People can be conditioned to act in other ways

Forensic Psychology
Task is to mesh the two systems so as to not do too much damage to either Sometime a very difficult task
Simplistic way to look at it:
Law seeks to hold people responsible
Mental health systems seek to excuse responsibility

Trust determined by scientific method

The Legal System is Adversarial
Opposing sides present their best case
“Truth” is whatever the fact-finder decides it is - the system is not really a search for the truth Justice is often illusory
Mainly a system to...
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