POLITICAL SCIENCE 354:  NATURAL RIGHT AND LAW

 

Spring, 2009

Professor Larry Arnhart

Office: Zulauf Hall 404

Telephone: 815-753-7049

Email: larnhart@niu.edu

Office hours:  Tuesday & Thursday, 3:30-4:30 pm; Wednesday & Friday, 12:30-1:30 pm (other times by appointment).  To be sure the instructor is going to be in his office, send him an email message to alert him that you will be coming at a specific time.

 

REQUIRED TEXTS IN THE BOOKSTORE

 

The New Jerusalem Bible (Doubleday)

Thomas Aquinas, On Law, Morality, and Politics, 2nd ed. (Hackett, 2002)

James Coolidge Carter, Law: It's Origin, Growth, and Function (G. P. Putnam's, 1907)

H. L. A. Hart, The Concept of Law, 2nd ed. (Oxford University Press, 1994)

E. Adamson Hoebel, The Law of Primitive Man (Harvard University Press, 2006)

Raymond Wacks, Law: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2008)

Raymond Wacks, Philosophy of Law: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University

   Press, 2006)

Other required texts in the schedule of readings are available online or on reserve in Founders Library.

 

CLASS MEETINGS

 

Tuesday & Thursday, 2:00-3:15 pm, DuSable 252

 

GRADING

 

The final grade for this course will be based on the grades for journal writing (30% for journal entries #1-6 and journal responses #1-6, 30% for journal entries #7-14 and journal responses #7-14), for class participation (15% for the first half of the course, 15% for the second half), and for a final argumentative essay (10%).  Grades for the first half of the course will be given out on March 3.

 

Journal Writing

 

A journal entry will be due every Tuesday at the beginning of class.  Each journal entry should be at least 600 words long (or roughly 2 double-spaced typed pages).  Each entry must have your name, the date, and the number of the entry on the top of the first page.  They must be typed.  They must be stapled.   All journal writing must be submitted in class at the beginning of class.  Submissions outside of class will not be accepted.  No submissions by e-mail will be accepted.  No late submissions will be accepted.  No submissions at the end of class will be accepted.

 

You will be assigned to a journal group with two other students.  You must bring three copies of your entry or response to class--one copy for the instructor and two copies for the members of your group.  Of course, you should keep the original for yourself.

 

The journal entry should be a statement of your thoughts about the reading assignment for that week.  The purpose is to show your intellectual struggle with the material.  Do you understand what the author is saying?  If so, do you agree or disagree?  Why?  If you do not understand what the author is saying, what is it that you find confusing? 

 

Intellectual struggle requires a logical analysis of the arguments.  What is the issue?  What position is the author taking on that issue?  What arguments does the author develop to support that position? What are the strengths and weaknesses in those arguments? Are the arguments ultimately persuasive or not? Those are the kind of questions you must consider in analyzing the arguments.  You should not fill up your journal entry by merely summarizing, paraphrasing, or quoting from the reading.  Hey, you’ve got a brain.  Use it!

 

You are free to introduce whatever you find pertinent--including ideas from your personal experience and ideas from other classes you have taken--whatever helps you to make sense of the issues raised in the readings.  Integrating ideas from our class discussions into your writing is important.  Again, the purpose is to write an informal statement of your thoughts about the reading assignments that show your intellectual struggle with the material and with the questions raised by that material.

 

The reading for each week will suggest many issues that might deserve comment.  But generally it is best for your journal entry to concentrate on just one issue that you can develop in two pages.

 

You will receive two grades for your journal writing.  On March 3 you will receive your grades for the first half of the semester.  Your grades for the second half of the semester will come at the end of the semester.

 

To deal with emergencies (illness and so on), you will be permitted to miss one journal entry and one set of journal responses without any penalty.  But missing more than that will lower your grade.

 

Journal responses will be due every Thursday at the beginning of class.   Each response should have your name, the number of the response, the date, and the name of the person to whom you are responding.  Each should be typed.  Every Thursday, you will turn in two responses, and each response must be at least 300 words long (or roughly 1 double-spaced typed page).  Like the journal entries, you must bring three copies--one for the instructor and two for the members of your journal group. 

 

If a member of your journal group does not give you an entry, you should turn in a note indicating that you cannot write a response because you have not received an entry.  You will not be penalized when you cannot write a response because you have not received a journal entry from one of your journal group members.

 

The journal responses will be your written responses to the journal entries of the two other people in your group.  So each Thursday you will come to class with two responses of at least one page each for the two members of your journal group.  The purpose of the journal response is to intellectually engage your fellow students.  How does their handling of the reading assignment compare with yours?  What did they see that you did not see?  Sometimes you will disagree.  But don't be too negative.  Even if you disagree with a journal entry, try to find some way to help that fellow student think through the issues.  You want to sustain a lively intellectual exchange with your fellow students in which everyone learns something from the exchange.  You want to struggle together in thinking through the issues.

 

If you do not receive a journal entry from a member of your journal group, you must turn in a note indicating that you cannot write a response because you did not receive an entry from that person.

 

The grading for the journal writing will be determined by how well you obey Arnhart's Ten Commandments:

 

1.  You must turn in all your journal writing (of the required length) at the beginning of each class.

 

2.  You must show some logical analysis of the texts that goes beyond merely summarizing or quoting from the texts.

 

3.  You must avoid errors in spelling, diction, punctuation, and grammar.

 

4.  You must write journal responses that seriously engage the journal entries from the other group members.

 

5. You must write on one or two major topics in each journal entry rather than writing superficially about many topics.

 

6.  You must organize your writing into coherent paragraphs.

 

7. You must occasionally show how the readings for one week relate to the readings for previous weeks.

 

8. You must develop your own line of reasoning about law and politics over the course of the semester in response to the readings and the class discussions.

 

9. You must take clear positions on the controversies in this class and support your positions with evidence and arguments.

 

10. You must regularly probe the deeper implications of the issues raised in the reading and class discussions beyond what is clear on the surface.

 

To earn a "C," students must obey commandments 1-4.  To earn a "B," students must obey commandments 1-8.  To earn an "A," students must obey all 10 commandments.  Those students failing to obey commandments 1-4 will receive a "D" or "F."  Anyone who commits plagiarism—using someone else's words without putting them within quotation marks—will automatically receive a final grade of "F" for the entire course.

 

 

Class Participation

 

You are expected to attend class and contribute to class discussions.  High grades for class participation will go to those who regularly attend class and who regularly contribute to class discussions in an instructive way.  You may miss two classes without penalty.  Missing more will be penalized.  You are expected to be in class on time.  Those who arrive late to class more than two times will be severely penalized.  Anyone whose cell phone rings in class will be whacked!

 

A grade of "C" for class participation requires regular class attendance (missing no more than two classes).  A grade of "B" for class participation requires regular class attendance and contributing to class discussions at least once a week.  A grade of "A" for class participation requires regular class attendance and contributing to class discussions at almost every class meeting.

 

 

Final Argumentative Essay

 

The final argumentative essay should be 15,000-2,000 words long (roughly 6-8 double-spaced pages).  The topics in this course are controversial.  For this essay, you should take up one of these controversial topics and defend your position on that controversy.  To do that, there are four requirements.  (1) State the question at issue.  (2) State your answer to the question.  (3) Support your answer with at least three arguments—three good reasons for believing that your answer is correct.  (4) Respond to at least two of the major objections to your answer.  The instructor will distribute a list of possible topics for this essay.  If you want to write on a topic not on this list, you must get the instructor's approval for this topic.  Anyone who commits plagiarism—using someone else's words without putting them within quotation marks—will automatically receive a final grade of "F" for the entire course.  This final essay is due no later than 12 noon on May 4 at the professor's office (Zulauf 404).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SCHEDULE

 

Jan 13:  Introduction

 

Jan 15:  Wacks, Law: A Very Short Introduction, pages 1-66

              Riggs v. Palmer (1889), online at http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/archives/riggs_palmer.htm

 

 

I.  PRIMITIVE LAW

 

Jan 20:  Hoebel, pages 3-28, 67-126

             Journal #1

 

Jan 22:  Response #1

 

Jan 27:  Hoebel, pages 127-210

             Journal #2

 

Jan 29:  Response #2

 

Feb   3:  Hoebel, pages 211-333

             Journal #3

 

Feb   5:  Response #3

 

 

II. BIBLICAL LAW

 

Feb 10:  Genesis 9:1-17; Exodus 18-24, 32-34; Leviticus 15, 18-20, 24, 25:44-46

              Journal #4

 

Feb 12:  Response #4

 

Feb 17:  Numbers 27:12-23, 31; Deuteronomy 1, 5-6, 17-25, 27, 30-31; Joshua 6:17-21,

                 8:32-35, Judges 2:13-3:30, 11, 21:25; 1 Samuel 8-12; Matthew 5-7, 22:15-22;

                 Romans 1-2, 13

              Journal #5

 

Feb 19:  Response #5

 

 

 

 

 

 

III. NATURAL LAW

 

Feb 24:  Wacks, Philosophy of Law: A Very Short Introduction, pages 1-17;

              Aquinas, pages 10-59

              Aquinas, ST, Supplement, Question 65, Article 1, online at http://www.newadvent.org/summa/5065.htm#article1

               Reynolds v. U.S. (1878), online at http://laws.findlaw.com/us/98/145.html

               Journal #6

 

Feb 26:   Response #6

 

Mar   3:  Aquinas, pages 59-105, 130-163

              Wacks, Law: A Very Short Introduction, pages 67-84

              Journal #7

 

Mar   5:  Response #7

 

Spring break

 

Mar 17:  Aquinas, pages 164-196

              "General Principles and Sources of the Law of War," online at http://www.lawofwar.org/principles.htm

              Journal #8

 

Mar 19:  Response #8

 

Mar 24:  Larry Arnhart, "Thomistic Natural Law as Darwinian Natural Right," Social

                 Philosophy & Policy, 18 (winter 2001): 1-33 (copies on reserve in Founders

                 Library);

              Note, "Inbred Obscurity: Improving Incest Laws in the Shadow of

                 the 'Sexual Family,'" Harvard Law Review, 119 (June, 2006): 2464-2485,

                 online at   http://www.harvardlawreview.org/issues/119/june06/note/inbred_obscurity.pdf

              Journal #9

 

Mar 26:  Response #9

 

 

IV. CUSTOMARY LAW

 

Mar 31:  Carter, pages 1-81

              Bruce Benson, "The Enterprise of Customary Law," online at http://www.mises.org/story/2542#

              Journal #10

 

Apr   2:  Response #10

 

Apr   7:  Carter, pages 115-166, 214-217, 221-240

              Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), online at http://laws.findlaw.com/us/163/537.html

              M. L. King, "Letter from a Birmingham Jail," online at http://www.stanford.edu/group/King/popular_requests/frequentdocs/birmingham.pdf

              Journal #11

 

Apr   9:  Response #11

 

Apr 14:  Carter, pages 241-262, 320-345

              Lawrence v. Texas (2003), online at http://laws.findlaw.com/us/000/02-102.html

              Journal #12

           

Apr 16:  Response #12

 

 

V.  POSITIVE LAW

 

Apr 21:  Wacks, Philosophy of Law: A Very Short Introduction, pages 18-47

              Hart, pages 18-25, 66-110

              Lochner v. New York (1905), online at http://laws.findlaw.com/us/198/45.html

              Journal #13

          

Apr 23:  Response #13

 

Apr 28:  Hart, pages 155-237

              Universal Declaration of Human Rights, online at http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Universal_Declaration_of_Human_Rights

              Journal #14

 

Apr 30:  Response #14

 

May  4:  final essay due before 12 noon at the professor's office (Zulauf 404)