October 25, 2013
George Mason's Todd Zywicki profiledInteresting, 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.)
Seton Hall conference on future of legal educationI'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!
Who is no longer applying to law school?Story here (and follow the links).
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!
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!
October 18, 2013
Responsibility, Guilt, Punishment
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.
October 15, 2013
So much for law reviews imposing word limits on verbose law professorsProfessor Bainbridge has the details.
Judge Posner recants...
...on voter ID law.
(Thanks to Drew Harris for the pointer.)