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Passions and EmotionsNOMOS LIII$
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James E. Fleming

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780814760147

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814760147.001.0001

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Legislating with Affect

Legislating with Affect

Emotion and Legislative Law Making

(p.38) 3 Legislating with Affect
Passions and Emotions

Carol Sanger

NYU Press

This chapter explores the connections between emotion and legislative law making. Any issue that becomes the subject of a legislative determination is likely to produce some degree of passion in those affected as citizens or as subjects. If moral values are based on sentiments that dispose people to emotions of approval and disapproval, it should come as no surprise that moral judgments—including those made by legislators in the course of law making—are likely to be “susceptible to the influence of emotions that are not necessarily relevant to a case at hand.” Indeed, a legislator's visceral reaction to a particular event or circumstance may motivate his position on an issue. In addition, certain emotions, such as fear, sometimes build upon themselves, producing a frenzied or disproportionate regulatory response. This can be seen in legislation enacted in response to a “moral panic.”

Keywords:   emotion, legislative law making, moral values, sentiments, moral judgments, regulatory response, moral panic

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