A central debate in general jurisprudence, between Lon Fuller and H.L.A. Hart, concerned whether or not the concept of law, and derivatively its application, is intrinsically linked to morality. Ivar Hannikainen presents experiments about how ordinary people think about these questions.
Many pages have been written about competing legal theories: natural law vs. positivism, formalism vs. realism, originalism vs. living constitutionalism. But what do most law professors actually believe? Eric Martínez (MIT) presents a new project that begins to answer this question.
FDA policy forbids blood banks from accepting blood from men who have had sex with other men (MSM) in the past three months. Are laypeople more tolerant of donations from MSM who engage in HIV preventive behaviors? Prof. Doron Dorfman presents an experiment that uncovers very surprising results!
Communicating what? The development of reasoning about punishment's messages
Legal theorists have argued that punishment is communicative. But what, empirically, is punishment's message? James Dunlea (Columbia) presents research (w/ Larisa Heiphetz) on children's and adults' inferences about what punishment signals about someone's past and who they will be in the future.
Modern textualism increasingly focuses on determining the "ordinary meaning" of statutes. Can experimental methods help in this effort? Profs. Kevin Tobia and John Mikhail will present experiments suggesting that "ordinary meaning" is more complicated than it first seems.