Author Archives: Pierre Schlag

Law School Exam Last Minute Help

Random student (probably law) demonstrating how to study: First, of all, if you are a law student and still reading this post, you are in deep trouble.  In fact, you really don’t have time for this and should really go away.   If … Continue reading

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Simula Life

My local bookstore is a pretty good one—as book stores go.  It regularly brings in authors (both renowned and good).  Its reader recommendations are generally excellent.  It purveys only a minimum of kitsch (greeting cards and such).  Its shelves are … 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

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Is Neuroscience the Death of Free Will?

So reads the title of a recent opinion piece in the New York Times by Professor Eddy Nahmias.   It warrants a bit of attention if not for its substance, then at least for what it illustrates about the contemporary state of … Continue reading

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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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AALS Law School Hiring and Recruitment: How to Get a Job as a French Intellectual (The Interview)

Today, there is a great wealth of advice available to faculty candidates who wish to become law professors.  One of the little known avenues for becoming a law professor (much neglected in even the best existing literature) is to get … 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

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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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America—The Young? (Full-On Decadence)

It is a commonplace that America is a young country.   The idea rests on an implicit frame of comparison (Europe) as well as the ascription of an origin in 1776 or 1789 or some such date.  The idea also rests on … Continue reading

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David Brooks v. Belgium

David Brooks has a column this morning, “The Lost Decade,” in which he describes our bad economy as an “emergent condition”—one where the condition (viewed as a whole) is worse than the sum  of its parts.  He then suggests that … 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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