Betrayal and Loyalty, Treason and Trust


Course Code:
LAW 520
Law Honors/Pass/Restrd Cr/Fail


The main topic of the seminar is Betrayal: its meaning as well as its moral, legal and political implications. We shall discuss various notions of betrayal: Political (military) betrayal such as treason, Religious betrayal with Judas as its emblem, but also apostasy (converting one's religion) which is regarded both as a basic human right and also as an act of betrayal, social betrayal – betraying class solidarity as well as Ideological betrayal – betraying a cause. On top of political betrayal we shall deal with personal betrayal, especially in the form of infidelity and in the form of financial betrayal of the kind performed by Madoff. The contrasting notions to betrayal, especially loyalty and trust, will get special consideration so as to shed light or cast shadow, as the case may be, on the idea of betrayal. The seminar will focus not only on the normative aspect of betrayal – moral or legal, but also on the psychological motivations for betraying others. The seminar will revolve around glaring historical examples of betrayal but also use informed fictional novels, plays and movies from Shakespeare and Pinter, to John Le Carre'.nElements used in grading: Class Participation, Attendance, Final Paper.nThis course is cross-listed with PHIL 174L/274L ETHICSOC 174L/274L.

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