Jeffrey A. Schaler, Ph.D.

Department of Justice, Law and Society
School of Public Affairs
The American University
Fall 1993
Tuesday and Friday at 2:10 - 3:25 p.m.
Hurst Hall 211

Faculty: Dr. Jeffrey A. Schaler
Office: Ward 216
Telephone: (301) 585-5664 in Silver Spring, Md.
Office hours: (by appointment)

Course Description

How do we decide when people are responsible for their behaviors? What are the social, moral, and psychiatric factors considered relevant to contemporary definitions of justice? Are public policies enhancing or undermining personal responsibility in society today? How can scientific understandings of behavior be used to absolve criminals of responsibility for their actions and deny innocent persons of their freedom and liberty?

These are the kinds of questions we seek to answer in this course. The course challenges and prepares students to address issues regarding behavioral accountability and its relationship to social conceptions of justice. Controversial issues such as the insanity defense and addiction and criminal responsibility are examined in depth. Contemporary trends in biological/genetic explanations for abnormal behavior and "mental illness" are discussed and evaluated in terms of their impact on public policy. Court cases and methods of philosophical inquiry are used to understand the role of personal responsibility for justice and public policy decisions. Lecture, discussion, and debate format.

Course Objectives

  1. To improve the student's policy-oriented thinking about justice in a constitutional democracy.
  2. To provide students with a method by which to evaluate policy related to justice and liberty.
  3. To define moral components integral to contemporary conceptions of justice and liberty and their relation to public policy.
  4. To learn to evaluate public-policy interpretations of psychiatrically-based explanations for abnormal behavior and their relation to issues concerning criminal justice.

Required Texts and Readings

Bockover, M.I. (Ed.). (1991). Rules, Rituals, and Responsibility: Essays Dedicated to Herbert Fingarette. La Salle, Illinois: Open Court.
Szasz, T. (1987). Insanity: The Idea and Its Consequences. New York: Wiley.
Fingarette, H. (1979). How an alcoholism defense works under the ALI insanity test. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 2, pps. 299-322.
Fingarette, H. (1976). Disabilities of mind and criminal responsibility¬A unitary doctrine. Columbia Law Review, 76, 236- 266.
Fingarette, H. (1966). The concept of mental disease in criminal law insanity tests. The University of Chicago Law Review, 33, 229- 248.

Recommended readings

(1993). Annual Editions Criminal Justice 93/94 Guilford, Conn.: Dushkin Publishing Group.

Course Requirements and Grades 
Quiz	 					20%
Mid-term examination				30%
Debate						20%
Final examination				30%
				    	Total = 100%

(All grades are assigned on a numerical basis: 100 = A+, 99-91 = A, 90 = A-, 89 = B+, 88-81 = B, 80 = B-, 79 = C+, 78-71 = C, 70 = C-, etc. Debate grades are 95, 85, 75, 65, 55 only.)

Class debate

A class debate will take place on November 30 and December 3. All students must participate by making at least a three-minute statement. You must submit a maximum one-page, single-spaced typed copy of your statement on the day of your presentation. Anything over one page will not be accepted. Your statement will be graded on the basis of the clarity of your presentation, organization, audience contact (eye and voice contact), and the logic of argument presented. Half of the class will participate on November 30 and the other half on December 3. This is a team project, however, you will be graded on the basis of your individual presentation and your written statement. The topic for the debate will be announced in class.

Debate team members Phone

* Clear and accurate writing will be taken into account in assigning grades, as well as participation in class discussions. Material discussed in class, or in films, and not in any of the readings, may form the basis for questions on the examinations. One grade reduction for over five class absences. Students are responsible for anything covered in class during their absence. Readings must be completed by the session to which they are assigned. Additional readings may be assigned during the course.

Academic Integrity Code

"Standards of academic conduct are set forth in the University's Academic Integrity Code. It is expected that all examinations, tests, written papers, and other assignments will be completed according to the standards set forth in this code. By registering, you have acknowledged your awareness of the Academic Integrity Code, and you are obliged to become familiar with your rights and responsibilities as defined by the Code. Violations of the Academic Integrity Code will not be treated lightly, and disciplinary action will be taken should such violations occur. Please see me if you have any questions about the academic violations described in the Code in general or as they relate to particular requirements for this course."

Class  Schedule

Date				Topic					Reading

August 31			Defining illness				
September 3			Film:  "Rampage"		        Szasz:  1-44
September 7			Defining mental illness		   	Szasz:  44-98
September 10			Being a mental patient	         	Szasz:  99-132
September 14			Mental illness as metaphor  	   	Szasz:  133-215
September 17			Mental illness 
				and intentionality		   	Szasz:  216-236
September 21			Quiz
September 24			Mental illness and 
				responsibility			   	Szasz:  237-278
September 28			Mental illness as strategy  	   	Szasz:  279-296
October 1			Mental illness as 
				justification			   	Szasz:  297-318
October 4			Mental illness as legal fiction  	Szasz:  319-341
October 8			Mental illness as explanation	   	Szasz:  342-366
October 12			Review
October 15			Mid-term examination
October 19			Film
October 22			Conspiracy and 
				criminal responsibility			Bockover/ Hasse		
October 26			The M'Naghten and Durham Rules      	Fingarette (1966 & 1976)
October 29			The ALI Insanity test		      	Fingarette (1979)
November 2			Addiction and 
				criminal responsibility		      	Bockover/
									Schoeman, Peele
November 5			Rights-bearing/role-bearing         	Bockover/Rosemont
November 9			Honesty with onself	            	Bockover/Martin
November 12			Self-knowledge and change	      	Bockover/Dilman
November 16			Mystical experience		      	Bockover/Graham
November 19			Review and debate preparation
November 23			No class
November 26			No class
November 30			Class debate ¬turn in statements
December 3			Class debate
December 7			Contemporary issues and recommendations
December 10			No class
December 14			Final examination     2:10 p.m. to 4:40 p.m.