Earlier today I organized my GSU teaching schedule for the coming academic year, and I’m particularly rapt that starting in the Spring 2014 semester I’ll be teaching a graduate seminar on the topic of neurolaw. Awesome, right?! =)
Three years ago I developed my own syllabus for a neurolaw course. The syllabus (available here if you’re interested) could benefit from being refreshed, since it’s missing several excellent papers that have been published in the last three years, but instead of refreshing it I’m now actually thinking of jumping ship. What’s changed of late is that as the field of neurolaw has matured, a number of scholars connected to the MacArthur Foundation’s Research Network on Law and Neuroscience have started putting together what to me look like awesome neurolaw course textbooks. Here’s a couple that I’m particularly enthused about:
- A Primer on Criminal Law and Neuroscience by Morse & Roskies (eds)
- Law and Neuroscience: a Coursebook by Jones, Schall & Shen (eds)
The not invented here syndrome is just as tempting in academia as it is in the corporate world. Who wouldn’t want to put their stamp of individuality onto the courses that they teach, right? However, I’ve always been struck by the fact that while the physical sciences and disciplines like mathematics and logic have very well developed standard syllabi, in philosophy we often re-invent the wheel.
Don’t get me wrong, individuality is lovely. But there is something to be said for standardizing course syllabi, especially once a field like neurolaw starts to mature. For this reason I will probably make liberal use of the above two volumes when I teach the Spring 2014 graduate seminar in neurolaw at GSU, and then I’ll supplement them with interesting current/recent legal cases, top recent journal articles, and chapters from my collection Neuroscience and Legal Responsibility. Then I’ll return to my own syllabus and think about whether to refresh it or whether the above books have made it obsolete.
So if you’re thinking of studying neurolaw next year, and you want to give yourself a head start, then check out the above four resources. And if you’re thinking of coming to GSU to study neurolaw then get in touch — it’ll be awesome to have you in my class. Oh, and stay tuned for a link to the course listing on GoSOLAR, GSU’s online student registration system.