Category Archives: Random Jurisprudence

Actually, some of it is organized.

Book Review (and subtext)

The recent publication of  [.......] by Professor X marks a moment in the history of [.......].  It establishes him as one of the leading, if not the leading, authority on the subject of [.......]. Professor X works at Zip Code Law … Continue reading

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Italy and The Case Method

Last week I was in Italy for a couple lectures.    I love going to Europe for talks.  Among other things, it reminds me how cloistered and parochial we are in the American legal academy.  It shakes me out of my … Continue reading

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Entry Framing (Theory Moves)

Entry Framing: [en-tree frey-ming] Noun Phrase The initial establishment in a text of a perspective, an orientation, a frame from or against which the text proceeds. Examples: An entry framing can establish a voice (“I am a spiteful man.  My liver is bad…”)   … Continue reading

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The Monty Python Example No. 3 (Analytical Philosophy in Law)

Too much of it arguably reads like this: In The Concept of Law, H.L.A. Hart once said something.  This brilliant insight (BI) effectively corrected some fundamentally wrongheaded ways of thinking.   Yet upon closer examination, BI encompasses a number of different ideas … Continue reading

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The American Law School (Tentative Notes for Stages of Evolution)

Pedagogy Stage 1: Socratic Stage 2: Soft Socratic                       Stage 3: Lecture/Student-oriented Learning Stage 4: Consumer Preference Advancement Societies: Stage 1: Old Boys Club/Old School Tie Stage 2: Political/Intellectual Interest … Continue reading

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Individuation (Theory Moves)

in·di·vid·u·a·tion  noun \-ˌvi-jə-ˈwā-shən\ The determination of the proper or relevant individual unit for purposes of interpretation, analysis, calculation, etc.  Individuation portends both integration into a stable identity and differentiation of that identity from its environment. Antonym: fusion, dedifferentiation Example: A text … Continue reading

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The Monty Python Example No. 2 (With Special Reference to Constitutional Interpretation)

As suggested in a prior post, the British comedy troupe Monty Python is generally under-acknowledged for its jurisprudential insights.  Nonetheless, these are occasionally quite sharp.  Here, for instance, in the “The Argument Clinic:” we have a demonstration of a basic … Continue reading

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Got Knowledge?

In “The Meditations,” Descartes revealed his desire to make a “solid and lasting contribution to knowledge,”  His problem, as he saw it, is that he had accumulated a large number of false opinions and thereon erected a flimsy structure.  He … Continue reading

Posted in Experimental, Random Jurisprudence, The BAT Cave | 2 Comments

Coase and “The Problem of Social Cost” (Again)

I don’t know if other academics experience this, but I find that, in scholarship, I am drawn to certain texts or problems over and over again for reasons that remain elusive.   And so here I am again, writing yet … Continue reading

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Law School Hiring (The Faculty Meeting–Appointments)

“O.K. Let’s begin…. We have two agenda items: the  promotion of Professor X which we will deal with first and the appointments matter–Frank Wright and Mary Prescott–which we will deal with second.  Tony?” “I would just like to say, in … Continue reading

Posted in Experimental, Random Jurisprudence, The BAT Cave | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments

The Critique of Normativity

OK—this one is deep inside the academy (and destined for the most inaccessible corners of the Bat Cave).   A while back, I wrote “The Critique of Normativity.”   It had thee parts (all three of which are on my law school … Continue reading

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Tips for Legal Commentators: How to Talk to the Press

Sometimes, legal commentators (law professors and whatnot) are ambushed by the press asking for commentary on a case just handed down.  What to say?   Sometimes one just doesn’t know.   Here then, by way of suggestion, is a list of plausible … Continue reading

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Theoretical Unspecifiables (Theory Moves)

Theoretical Unspecifiable: [thee-uh-ret-i-kuhl un-spes-uh-fahy-uh-buhl] Noun Phrase In a theory or a mode of thought, an unspecified (and unspecifiable) term used to resolve gaps, contradictions, incommensurabilities and paradoxes.  A theoretical unspecifiable is conceptually nearly vacant (and inaccessible to theorization) but at the same … Continue reading

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Narcissistic Interpretation (Theory Moves)

Narcissistic Interpretation: [nahr-suh-sis-tik in-tur-pri-tey-shuhn] Noun Phrase A tendency to systematically misread the work of others in a way that confirms one’s world view or satisfies one’s psychological, political or professional needs. Antonym: charity in interpretation See also: déformation professionelle; taking … Continue reading

Posted in Nature/Culture, Random Jurisprudence, Theory Moves | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Remembering Derrick Bell

Derrick Bell died last week at the age of 80.  Though his passing was overshadowed by the death of Steve Jobs, Bell’s achievements were recounted in the New York Times and elsewhere:  First African American law professor to be tenured … Continue reading

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Middleness, Moderation, Compromise, and Other Inflexible Positions

Some Democratic politicians and commentators are wistfully wondering whether Occupy Wall Street and its national counterparts might not be a progressive equivalent of the right’s Tea Party Movement. A bit late–dontcha think?   And ironic as well.  Because it signifies a … Continue reading

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Legal Formalism (A Refresher on Form)

O.K. for you law people, this will all be pretty familiar.   For you non-law people, this is  an acid challenge—a test of your tolerance for excruciatingly picayune legal exegesis.   One bit of solace I can offer you is that, conveniently, … Continue reading

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My Dinner at Langdell’s

It was one of those cold wet April Cambridge mornings. Too wet for fog, but too indifferent for rain. My head ached. My lips were dry and my tongue felt bloated. The fever had surely come back. Worse–the laudanum was … Continue reading

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Kandinsky or Hart? Aesthetics. No. 1

Kandinsky or Hart? Pierre Schlag Beta Version 1.0 In 1927, Heisenberg introduced his uncertainty principle. By 1934, Wittgenstein was breaking with his early work. In 1923, Kandinsky was putting the finishing touches on Composition VIII: And in 1958, H.L.A. Hart, … Continue reading

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The Monty Python Example No. 1

The British Troupe, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, is justly known for its biting and irreverent humor.  But Monty Python’s send-ups have other virtues as well.  By way of illustration consider a scene from the movie Life of Brian which shows the Brian … Continue reading

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