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Georgetown University Law Center

Law and Society

Law and literature

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Articles 1 - 4 of 4

Full-Text Articles in Legal History

Three Positivisms, Robin West Jan 1998

Three Positivisms, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In this article, I accept and hope to expand upon the conventional consensus view that The Path of the Law is a brief for an Americanized version of Austinian legal positivism and for the "separation" of law and morality that is at its core. I also want to show, however, that the distinctive accomplishment of this Essay is its literary ambiguity: Both its explicit arguments for the positivist separation of law and morality, and the three enduring metaphors Holmes uses to make the case -- (1) the "bad man" from whose perspective we can clearly view the law; (2) the "prophecies ...


Law, Literature, And The Celebration Of Authority, Robin West Jan 1989

Law, Literature, And The Celebration Of Authority, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Richard Posner's new book, Law and Literature: A Misunderstood Relation, is a defense of “liberal legalism” against a group of modern critics who have only one thing in common: their use of either particular pieces of literature or literary theory to mount legal critiques. Perhaps for that reason, it is very hard to discern a unified thesis within Posner's book regarding the relationship between law and literature. In part, Posner is complaining about a pollution of literature by its use and abuse in political and legal argument; thus, the “misunderstood relation” to which the title refers. At times ...


Adjudication Is Not Interpretation: Some Reservations About The Law-As-Literature Movement, Robin West Jan 1987

Adjudication Is Not Interpretation: Some Reservations About The Law-As-Literature Movement, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Among other achievements, the modern law-as-literature movement has prompted increasing numbers of legal scholars to embrace the claim that adjudication is interpretation, and more specifically, that constitutional adjudication is interpretation of the Constitution. That adjudication is interpretation -- that an adjudicative act is an interpretive act -- more than any other central commitment, unifies the otherwise diverse strands of the legal and constitutional theory of the late twentieth century.

In this article, I will argue in this article against both modern forms of interpretivism. The analogue of law to literature, on which much of modern interpretivism is based, although fruitful, has carried ...


Authority, Autonomy, And Choice: The Role Of Consent In The Moral And Political Visions Of Franz Kafka And Richard Posner, Robin West Jan 1985

Authority, Autonomy, And Choice: The Role Of Consent In The Moral And Political Visions Of Franz Kafka And Richard Posner, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In "The Ethical and Political Basis of Wealth Maximization" and two related articles, Professor (now Judge) Richard Posner argues that widely shared pro-autonomy moral values are furthered by wealth-maximizing market transfers, judicial decisions, and legal institutions advocated by members of the "law and economics" school of legal theory. Such transactions, decisions, and institutions are morally attractive, Posner argues, because they support autonomy; wealth-maximizing transfers are those to which all affected parties have given their consent. This Article argues that Posner's attempt to defend wealth-maximization on principles of consent rests on a simplistic and false psychological theory of human motivation ...