February 06, 2013
"Legal Realisms, Old and New"The final version (pending copy-editing), which was given as the 2012 Seegers Lecture in Jurisprudence this past fall at Valparaiso, and which will appear in their law review later this year.
January 21, 2013
"Why Tolerate Religion" on the radio in ChicagoHere (hit "click play" at the center top if you'd like to listen).
December 13, 2012
H.L.A. Hart Interviewed
Hart, along with Hans Kelsen, was one of the two great figures in legal philosophy of the past century. This wide-ranging interview a few years before his death covers the personal, professional, and intellectual. The quality of the audio is uneven, and a transcript is forthcoming. OUP has released the audio to mark the publication of the Third Edition of The Concept of Law, which includes a new, very useful introduction by Leslie Green and new notes, also prepared by Green, identifying the key literature since Hart discussing the issues he raises.
The part of the interview concerning Ronald Dworkin is particularly revealing, and consistent with what I've noted before about Dworkin's reputation among legal philosophers. Asked to comment on Dworkin, Hart describes his criticisms of legal positivism as "really very mistaken" and says Dworkin "goes over the board," but adds that he is a "marvelously gifted expositor...on his feet," knows more logic than Hart does, and has "wonderful writing" on American constitutional law in The New York Review of Books. This is a nice example of what Paul Grice dubbed conversational implicature, in which we infer meaning not from what the speaker explicitly said, but from what the speaker chose to say in the context. (In Grice's example, a letter of recommendation for an academic job candidate that says only that, "Mr. Smith has a beautiful handwriting and is neatly dressed" implies that Mr. Smith is a poor candidate, since a letter for an academic job candidate should mention the relevant, positive features of the candidate, if he has any!)
December 06, 2012
John Gray on "Why Tolerate Religion?" in The New Statesman
I'm sure my pal Todd Zywicki will be posting this review of my book by the British political theorist John Gray soon on his blog, but just in case, here it is; an excerpt: “A model of clarity and rigour and at points strikingly original, this is a book that anyone who thinks seriously about religion, ethics and politics will benefit from reading.” Gray makes one error in his discussion of my characterization of religion, which is that the characteristics identified are conjunctive; I quite agree with the points he makes about them considered individually.
UPDATE: Here's my talk on the book from the Carnegie Council in New York.
November 26, 2012
Todd Zywicki is obviously still smarting...
...from being whacked last Spring. How else to explain why he would post a link to a not very substantive, but critical, review of my book from an obscure blog? I guess he thinks it harms me! (If so, I guess my re-linking it is a failure of prudence on my part!)
The review itself elicits a pretty good response in the first comment from another libertarian reader of the website, who concludes, "Leiter’s book is one that is worthy of a real response. A review of his book, especially in a high quality site like this one, should be written by somebody with the professional and intellectual competence to do this." I can agree with all that! The reviewer, Mr. Anderson, is, for the record, co-author of a rather notoriously silly (Thomist-inspired) paper on the metaphysics of marriage, that I noted on my philosophy blog here in 2011. (It's a special feature of this kind of silly metaphysics that you can perform it on artifacts!)
For those actually interested in Thomism, pages 86-91 of my book are given over to the Thomist argument for the specialness of "religion." I rely on John Finnis's version of those arguments, viewing him, correctly, as a serious representative of the position. I argue that his argument's aren't very persuasive or sound. What the reviewer's counter-arguments are to my position remains, as of this writing, top secret.
(As if to prove the old adage, "There's no such thing as bad publicity," since Zywicki linked the review, the book went from a rank of around 250,000 on Amazon to the top 50,000.)
ADDENDUM: For those interested, there has been some adult discussion of themes from the book at the Talking Philosophy blog.
October 29, 2012
"The Methodology of Legal Philosophy"A draft of a new essay by Alex Langlinais (a philosophy grad student here at Chicago) and myself, to appear in the Oxford Handbook of Philosophical Methodology, being edited by Cappelen, Gendler, and Hawthorne. Comments welcome.
October 21, 2012
The Persistence of Fuller-Inspired Confusions about Legal PositivismIt is surprising, to those of us specializing in jurisprudence, how much staying power Lon Fuller's confusions have. This paper by Michael Sevel (Sydney) is a useful corrective.
October 17, 2012
Why Tolerate Religion?
The book is finally out. Thanks to all those who had expressed interest in the project.