Law's Quandary

ISBN-10: 0674025733
ISBN-13: 9780674025738
Edition: 2004
Authors: Steven D. Smith
List price: $33.00
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Description: This lively book reassesses a century of jurisprudential thought from a fresh perspective, and points to a malaise that currently afflicts not only legal theory but law in general. Steven Smith argues that our legal vocabulary and methods of  More...

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Book details

List price: $33.00
Copyright year: 2004
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publication date: 9/30/2007
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 222
Size: 5.75" wide x 9.50" long x 0.25" tall
Weight: 0.682
Language: English

This lively book reassesses a century of jurisprudential thought from a fresh perspective, and points to a malaise that currently afflicts not only legal theory but law in general. Steven Smith argues that our legal vocabulary and methods of reasoning presuppose classical ontological commitments that were explicitly articulated by thinkers from Aquinas to Coke to Blackstone, and even by Joseph Story. But these commitments are out of sync with the world view that prevails today in academic and professional thinking. So our law-talk thus degenerates into "just words"--or a kind of nonsense. The diagnosis is similar to that offered by Holmes, the Legal Realists, and other critics over the past century, except that these critics assumed that the older ontological commitments were dead, or at least on their way to extinction; so their aim was to purge legal discourse of what they saw as an archaic and fading metaphysics. Smith's argument starts with essentially the same metaphysical predicament but moves in the opposite direction. Instead of avoiding or marginalizing the "ultimate questions," he argues that we need to face up to them and consider their implications for law.

Steven D. Smith is Warren Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of San Diego and Co-Executive Director of the USD Institute for Law and Religion.

Preface
Law and Metaphysics?
Just Words?
Ontological Dynasties
(How) Is Law for Real?
Does ""the Law"" Exist?
the Jurisprudence of Modernity
The Metaphysics of Legal Meaning
How Does Law Mean?
Author(s) Wanted
Mind the Gap
Law in a Quandary
Epilogue: Confusion and Confession
Notes
Index

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