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October 25, 2013

George Mason's Todd Zywicki profiled

Interesting, and not wholly surprising.  To be sure, Professor Zywicki is a committed ideologue, so I would expect him to take the positions he takes even if he weren't being paid to do so.  (We last encountered Professor Zywicki last year during the fake scandal du jour about Professor Warren.)

Posted by Brian Leiter on October 25, 2013 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Seton Hall conference on future of legal education

I'm sorry that I won't be there to see Professor Simkovic go head-to-head with one of his confused critics!  (Mr. Harper is, admittedly, less confused than some of the others.)  I hope there will be a video or audio available aftewards! 

Posted by Brian Leiter on October 25, 2013 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Who is no longer applying to law school?

Story here (and follow the links).

Posted by Brian Leiter on October 25, 2013 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Rankings | Permalink

October 23, 2013

Rank the 50 best law faculties in the U.S.

It's the time of year for our annual Condorcet poll about law schools--but this years, I want to emphasize that the question is about the best law faculties, in terms of the scholarly quality of their work.  Here's the poll:  have fun!  (We've included every school that is either "top 50" in U.S. News or by one of the measures of faculty quality that I've used in the past.)   Any attempt to rally votes will result in that school being dropped from the final results!  And rank at least 20 schools!

Posted by Brian Leiter on October 23, 2013 in Rankings | Permalink

October 22, 2013

Yet another news article trashing student-edited law reviews

Yawn.  Mr. Liptak, however, missed the real story, which is that peer-edited journals of legal scholarship are not "rare" any longer, but increasingly common, and increasingly the leading fora for work in several areas of interdisciplinary scholarship (especially law & economics, and law & philosophy).

A REJOINDER from Frank Pasquale, who makes several fair points.  That being said, there is no way around the fact that work that could only be described as "sophomoric nonsense" appears with alarming frequency in the Harvard Law Review, Yale Law Journal, etc.  There is nothing comparable in, e.g., the leading faculty-edited law journals, let alone the peer-reviewed journals of other serious disciplines, like philosophy.  So even if Mr. Liptak's piece is a bit of a hatchet job, law professors should not kid themselves that the student-edited law review system is wonderful! 

Posted by Brian Leiter on October 22, 2013 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink

October 18, 2013

Responsibility, Guilt, Punishment

For those who are interested:

I offer an interpretation of Nietzsche’s striking idea of “the innocence of becoming” (die Unschuld des Werdens), and offer a partial defense of its import, namely, that no one is ever morally responsible or guilty for what they do and that the so-called “reactive attitudes” are always misplaced.  I focus primarily, though not exclusively, on the arguments as set out in Twilight of the Idols.  First, there is Nietzsche’s hypothesis, partly psychological and partly historical or anthropological, that the ideas of “free” action or free will, and of responsibility for actions freely chosen or willed, were introduced primarily in order to justify punishment (“[m]en were considered ‘free’ so that they might be judged and punished”).  Call this the Genetic Thesis about Free Will.  Second, there is Nietzsche’s claim that the moral psychology, or “psychology of the will” as he calls it, that underlies this picture is, in fact, false—that, in fact, it is not true that every action is willed or that it reflects a purpose or that it originates in consciousness.  Call these, in aggregate, the Descriptive Thesis about the Will.  (Here I draw on earlier work.)  Finally, there is articulation of a programmatic agenda, namely, to restore the “innocence of becoming” by getting rid of guilt and punishment based on guilt—not primarily because ascriptions of guilt and responsibility are false (though they are), but because a world understood as “innocent,” one understood in terms of “natural” cause and effect, is a better world in which to live.   I thus try to explain and defend Zarathustra’s  recommendation:  “’Enemy’ you shall say, but not ‘villain’; ‘sick’ you shall say, but not ‘scoundrel’; ‘fool’ you shall say, but not ‘sinner.’”  Nietzsche’s views are contrasted with those of important modern writers on these topics, including P.F. Strawson and Gary Watson.

Comments are welcome, thanks.

Posted by Brian Leiter on October 18, 2013 in Jurisprudence | Permalink

October 15, 2013

So much for law reviews imposing word limits on verbose law professors

Professor Bainbridge has the details.

Posted by Brian Leiter on October 15, 2013 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Judge Posner recants...

...on voter ID law.

(Thanks to Drew Harris for the pointer.)

Posted by Brian Leiter on October 15, 2013 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink

October 14, 2013

U.S. News "asking" for expenditures information but has not decided whether to use it in the rankings

According to IHE.  Just to be clear, then:  U.S. News will waste thousands of hours of time of administrative staff around the country compiling data they would not otherwise need to compile, but may not use any of it.  Classy.

Posted by Brian Leiter on October 14, 2013 in Rankings | Permalink

October 11, 2013

More on the mischief caused by expenditures data in U.S. News

Here (and follow the links).

Posted by Brian Leiter on October 11, 2013 in Rankings | Permalink