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PSYC 268
Deborah Connolly

PSYC 268 Lecture 1- Intro to Psychology & Law Sept 10, 2012 What is Law?  “A body of rules of guidance for human conduct which are imposed upon and enforced among the members of a given state.”  Laws govern human behaviours and provide a means of resolving conflicts ** Laws must be: *EXTENSIVE- to accommodate the wide range of human behaviours and circumstances through which conflicts may arise *DYNAMIC- to cope with the changing needs of society What is Psychology?  “Scientific study of behaviours and mental processes  Uses scientific method  Hypothesis procedures to test hypothesis (experimentation/observation) data (collected/analyzed) findings interpreted/hypothesis peer reviewed ** 3 Philosophies on NATURE/DEFINTION/ORIGIN of Law (MAIN): 1. Natural Law 2. Formulistic View/Positivism 3. Legal Realism *Natural Law- source of law is universal and good and can be discovered (not created) through careful reasoning -Beyond human reasoning independent of humans -Source of law varies across theorists God, human nature, etc. -Human law evolves over time as humans evolve but must always correspond to the tenants of natural law (written law not conforming to natural law is invalid law) *Implications of Natural Law -The source of law is unchanging & universal  law (itself) is unchanging & universal -Law exists in nature and divinity so is inherently good and moral -As long as legal professionals employ sound reasoning will discover true law -Limited need for non-legal professionals *Formulistic View/Positivism- law is what the law says law is what is written down and must be applied as written -Law is a set of rules that when applied appropriately to a set of facts will render the “correct” decision *Implications of Formulistic View/Positivism -The task of the judge is apply the law as it is written, as long as a law exists that applies in the circumstances -Little need for extra-legal experts *Legal Realism- three important tenants: -Law is behaviour of judge  whose decisions are necessarily affected by personal experiences and biases -Law should promote social welfare -To promote social welfare  legal system profits from systematic examination of social reality *Implications of Legal Realism If law is the behaviour of judges: -More representatives in judicial roles -Judges must be open to information and input fro
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