Cultivating Conscience: How Good Laws Make Good People

Overview

"Lynn Stout's rich and thought-provoking book explores the full spectrum of human behavior, from selfishness to self-sacrifice. Her insights will fascinate anyone interested in the law, economics, psychology, and everyday human existence."—Jared Diamond, author of Guns, Germs, and Steel and Collapse

"With evident pride in their own tough-mindedness, rational choice theorists have long insisted that people are self-interested in the narrow sense. Lynn Stout's tough-minded book should persuade all but the most ...

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Cultivating Conscience: How Good Laws Make Good People

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Overview

"Lynn Stout's rich and thought-provoking book explores the full spectrum of human behavior, from selfishness to self-sacrifice. Her insights will fascinate anyone interested in the law, economics, psychology, and everyday human existence."—Jared Diamond, author of Guns, Germs, and Steel and Collapse

"With evident pride in their own tough-mindedness, rational choice theorists have long insisted that people are self-interested in the narrow sense. Lynn Stout's tough-minded book should persuade all but the most stubborn of them to rethink their skepticism. The rest of us will find useful guidance for how to restructure environments to help bring out the best in everyone."—Robert H. Frank, author of The Economic Naturalist

"This concise book makes meaningful linkages between social science work and basic areas of the law in ways that will engage and resonate with general readers. Cultivating Conscience offers much food for reflection."—Robert C. Clark, Harvard Law School

"This is a powerful book. Its argument is timely, not only theoretically but practically. Eloquently written, a truly engaging read. This should be widely read—and, more importantly, acted upon."—Edward F. Fischer, Vanderbilt University

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Editorial Reviews

Times Higher Education
Cultivating Conscience is a blistering attack on the 'law and economics' school, which has had an enormous impact in the US legal academy. . . . But despite that focus, Cultivating Conscience is not only for a US readership: its clear and highly readable style, enlivened by real-life examples, also makes it accessible and of great interest on this side of the Atlantic. . . . Cultivating Conscience is lucid and stimulating.
— Bill Bowring
ForeWord Reviews
[D]uality in human nature, and the connection between conscience and public policy, is masterfully examined in this book by Lynn A. Stout. . . . Cultivating Conscience is a forceful and rational proposition for reasonable change.
— John Michael Senger
Campaign for the American Reader blog
Stout makes the compelling case that conscience is neither a rare nor quirky phenomenon, but a vital force woven into our daily lives. . . . This book proves that if we care about effective laws and civilized society, the powers of conscience are simply too important for us to ignore.
— Marshal Zeringue
PsycCRITIQUES
Cultivating Conscience is one of those rare books—essentially a single-theme book, an apologia for the author's subject matter—that eruditely comingles several fields of knowledge, is clearly and succinctly written, holds the reader's full attention throughout, and whose contents affect the reader's thoughts at unsuspecting times and on various topics long after reading is complete. In short, it is well worth reading by both laypersons and professionals.
— Cynthia C. Siebel
Times Higher Education - Bill Bowring
Cultivating Conscience is a blistering attack on the 'law and economics' school, which has had an enormous impact in the US legal academy. . . . But despite that focus, Cultivating Conscience is not only for a US readership: its clear and highly readable style, enlivened by real-life examples, also makes it accessible and of great interest on this side of the Atlantic. . . . Cultivating Conscience is lucid and stimulating.
ForeWord Reviews - John Michael Senger
[D]uality in human nature, and the connection between conscience and public policy, is masterfully examined in this book by Lynn A. Stout. . . . Cultivating Conscience is a forceful and rational proposition for reasonable change.
Campaign for the American Reader blog - Marshal Zeringue
Stout makes the compelling case that conscience is neither a rare nor quirky phenomenon, but a vital force woven into our daily lives. . . . This book proves that if we care about effective laws and civilized society, the powers of conscience are simply too important for us to ignore.
PsycCRITIQUES - Cynthia C. Siebel
Cultivating Conscience is one of those rare books—essentially a single-theme book, an apologia for the author's subject matter—that eruditely comingles several fields of knowledge, is clearly and succinctly written, holds the reader's full attention throughout, and whose contents affect the reader's thoughts at unsuspecting times and on various topics long after reading is complete. In short, it is well worth reading by both laypersons and professionals.
From the Publisher
"Cultivating Conscience is a blistering attack on the 'law and economics' school, which has had an enormous impact in the US legal academy. . . . But despite that focus, Cultivating Conscience is not only for a US readership: its clear and highly readable style, enlivened by real-life examples, also makes it accessible and of great interest on this side of the Atlantic. . . . Cultivating Conscience is lucid and stimulating."—Bill Bowring, Times Higher Education

"[D]uality in human nature, and the connection between conscience and public policy, is masterfully examined in this book by Lynn A. Stout. . . . Cultivating Conscience is a forceful and rational proposition for reasonable change."—John Michael Senger, ForeWord Reviews

"Stout makes the compelling case that conscience is neither a rare nor quirky phenomenon, but a vital force woven into our daily lives. . . . This book proves that if we care about effective laws and civilized society, the powers of conscience are simply too important for us to ignore."—Marshal Zeringue, Campaign for the American Reader blog

"Cultivating Conscience is one of those rare books—essentially a single-theme book, an apologia for the author's subject matter—that eruditely comingles several fields of knowledge, is clearly and succinctly written, holds the reader's full attention throughout, and whose contents affect the reader's thoughts at unsuspecting times and on various topics long after reading is complete. In short, it is well worth reading by both laypersons and professionals."—Cynthia C. Siebel, PsycCRITIQUES

Times Higher Education

Cultivating Conscience is a blistering attack on the 'law and economics' school, which has had an enormous impact in the US legal academy. . . . But despite that focus, Cultivating Conscience is not only for a US readership: its clear and highly readable style, enlivened by real-life examples, also makes it accessible and of great interest on this side of the Atlantic. . . . Cultivating Conscience is lucid and stimulating.
— Bill Bowring
ForeWord Reviews

[D]uality in human nature, and the connection between conscience and public policy, is masterfully examined in this book by Lynn A. Stout. . . . Cultivating Conscience is a forceful and rational proposition for reasonable change.
— John Michael Senger
PsycCRITIQUES

Cultivating Conscience is one of those rare books--essentially a single-theme book, an apologia for the author's subject matter--that eruditely comingles several fields of knowledge, is clearly and succinctly written, holds the reader's full attention throughout, and whose contents affect the reader's thoughts at unsuspecting times and on various topics long after reading is complete. In short, it is well worth reading by both laypersons and professionals.
— Cynthia C. Siebel
Campaign for the American Reader blog

Stout makes the compelling case that conscience is neither a rare nor quirky phenomenon, but a vital force woven into our daily lives. . . . This book proves that if we care about effective laws and civilized society, the powers of conscience are simply too important for us to ignore.
— Marshal Zeringue
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691139951
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 10/4/2010
  • Pages: 328
  • Sales rank: 1,441,884
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Lynn Stout is the Paul Hastings Professor of Corporate and Securities Law at the UCLA School of Law. She is the coauthor of several books and a frequent commentator for NPR, PBS, and the "Wall Street Journal".

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements vii

PART ONE
Chapter 1: Franco's Choice 3
Chapter 2: Holmes' Folly 23
Chapter 3: Blind to Goodness: Why We Don't See
Conscience 45

PART TWO
Chapter 4: Games People Play: Unselfish Prosocial
Behavior in Experimental Gaming 75
Chapter 5: The Jekyll/Hyde Syndrome: A Three-Factor
Social Model of Unselfish Prosocial Behavior 94
Chapter 6: Origins 122

PART THREE
Chapter 7: My Brother's Keeper: The Role of
Unselfishness in Tort Law 151
Chapter 8: Picking Prosocial Partners: The Story of
Relational Contract 175
Chapter 9: Crime, Punishment, and Community 200

PART FOUR
Conclusion Chariots of the Sun 233
Notes 255
Works Cited 281
Index 299

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