West on Law’s Sentiments @BandesSusan @ElgarPublishing

Robin West, Georgetown University Law Center, is publishing Law’s Sentiments in the Edward Elgar Research Handbook on Law and Emotion (Susan A. Bandes, Jody Lynee Madeira, Kathryn Temple, and Emily Kidd White, eds., Elgar Publishing, 2020). Here is the abstract.

The chapter argues that law and the Rule of Law do not displace moral sentiments, but rather require them, and sometimes produce them. Law gives us some sense of physical security and thereby makes possible the fellow feeling and empathy that are the root of moral action. The chapter seeks to make this claim plausible by looking at fiction that describes various dystopian lawless states, including the hierarchy of the Church, which law has been loath to enter, badly policed neighborhoods, nineteenth century American slavery, and early twentieth century patriarchal marriages. One lesson of much of this fiction is that these lawless dystopias not only leave their inhabitants with nasty, brutish and short lives, but also truncate their capacities for empathy and community.

Download the essay from SSRN at the link.