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Full-Text Articles in Legal History

Law As Language (Reviewing Peter M. Tiersma, Legal Language (1999)), Francis J. Mootz Iii Jan 1999

Law As Language (Reviewing Peter M. Tiersma, Legal Language (1999)), Francis J. Mootz Iii

Scholarly Works

The jacket of Professor Peter Tiersma’s book Legal Language illustrates the problem inherent in a linguistic study of legal language. The jacket features a legal document in fine print, with an overlay of a magnifying glass that brings some of the indecipherable words into focus. The problem, of course, is that a scholar conducting a linguistic study of language does not have access to a distinct "magnifying glass" that can posit language as an object; he can study language only with language.

Tiersma attempts to avoid the most difficult problems of self-reference that follow from the "interpretive turn" in ...


Book Review, David S. Tanenhaus Jan 1999

Book Review, David S. Tanenhaus

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After missing an opportunity as a graduate student in the early 1970s to meet the aged Miriam Van Waters, whose distinguished career as a penal reformer spanned from the First World War to the launching of Sputnik, historian Estelle Freedman now attempts to capture her through biography. Freedman’s effort is a valiant one because Van Waters, a student of psychology, struggled with her own identity and sexuality, and repeatedly pushed away anyone who tried to get too close. One can only imagine how the intensely private Van Waters would have reacted to learning that her most personal conflicts would ...


Law In Flux: Philosophical Hermeneutics, Legal Argumentation And The Natural Law Tradition, Francis J. Mootz Iii Jan 1999

Law In Flux: Philosophical Hermeneutics, Legal Argumentation And The Natural Law Tradition, Francis J. Mootz Iii

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Peter Goodrich describes the plight of contemporary legal theory with concise accuracy: We have abandoned natural law foundations originally constructed in ecclesiastical venues only to find that the project of developing a secular legal language capable of transforming the management of social conflict into questions of technical rationality is doomed to failure. The ascendancy of analytic legal positivism has purchased conceptual rigor at the cost of separating the analysis of legal validity from moral acceptability, but retreat from this stale conceptualism and a return to traditional natural law precepts appears wildly implausible. The irrelevance of the natural law tradition in ...


Natural Law And The Cultivation Of Legal Rhetoric, Francis J. Mootz Iii Jan 1999

Natural Law And The Cultivation Of Legal Rhetoric, Francis J. Mootz Iii

Scholarly Works

This essay appeared in a book celebrating Lon Fuller's contributions to jurisprudence. In it, Professor Mootz argued that Fuller's conception of secular natural law, designated as an "internal morality of law," lends welcome assistance to the effort to articulate a new direction in legal philosophy. He defended Fuller's natural-law approach from the common misinterpretations that it is either a hollow echo of the natural law tradition or an essentialist conception of law at odds with the legal-realist world that he helped to create with his doctrinal scholarship. By reading his famous, "The Case of the Speluncean Explorers ...