Brian Leiter's Law School Reports

Brian Leiter
University of Chicago Law School

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

February 05, 2007

"Why Evolutionary Biology is (so far) Irrelevant to Law"

A revised version of this paper I wrote with the philosopher of biology Michael Weisberg at Penn is now on-line at SSRN.  This is pretty much the penultimate version, and comments would still be timely and welcome for a few more weeks.

February 5, 2007 in Jurisprudence, Navel-Gazing, Of Academic Interest | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

December 23, 2006


This Brian Leiter is now back in Austin, and while e-mail is still being forwarded from my Chicago address, it would be best now to reach me via the Texas address.

December 23, 2006 in Navel-Gazing | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

December 20, 2006

Texas "Emerging Scholars Program" Still Taking Applications!!!

I don't usually post these kinds of items, but will make an exception for my beloved home institution; one of my colleagues involved in the selection of candidates passes the following along:

The Emerging Scholars Program at the University of Texas School of Law is still taking application for fellowships beginning in Fall 2007.  The ESP provides financial and institutional support for three or four semesters of teaching and scholarship in residence at UT for persons who intend to pursue an academic career.  ESP Fellows are welcome into the community of scholars at UT and receive substantial faculty assistance with their scholarly projects.  More information about the program can be found on the ESP webpage.

Interested candidates should send their applications before January 26, 2007 to the address found on the webpage.  If you are already in the academy  and know someone (especially someone in practice) who might be interested and well qualified, please forward this information to him or her.

Let me add a few comments of my own.  First, our program--this is, in the more common vernacular, a kind of Visiting Assistant Professor program--is relatively new (this fall is only the third year we have welcomed faculty to the ESP), but so far quite successful.  We've had a total of three participants who have entered the job market--the first is now in a tenure-track job at a very good law school (and got a huge amount of play on the job market, with interviews at most of the very top law schools), and the next two (on the market now) have had dozens and dozens of interviews at excellent law schools, from the very top national law schools to the very best regional law schools, and already have two offers in hand (last I heard, two weeks ago--I've been out of the loop a bit because I was visiting at Chicago this fall).  So our track record is good!  Because our faculty is large and congenial, whatever your interests, you're likely to find helpful colleagues in your areas.  The teaching is structured so as to maximize the candidate's research, but also to provide opportunity for teaching experience in a "bread and butter" class.  (Basically what this has meant in practice is one course a term:  either a seminar in the area of research or an upper-level course in one of the candidate's primary areas.) 

Candidates who are on the general teaching market this year who haven't received attractive tenure-track offers should consider applying specifically to the ESP.

December 20, 2006 in Navel-Gazing | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

December 12, 2006

UT Law & Philosophy Program for 2006-07

For those who might be interested, we have finally updated the site for 2006-07.  Prospective students should feel free to contact me with any questions.

December 12, 2006 in Navel-Gazing | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

October 19, 2006

Apologies for the Dearth of Postings Lately...

...but proofing this, copy-editing this, and processing the data for this--in addition to teaching, research & writing, and the lively intellectual interchange with colleagues and students here at Chicago--has left me rather short of time for the blog.  I hope to have more law school news next week.

October 19, 2006 in Navel-Gazing | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

September 14, 2006

Sorry for the Paucity of Postings...

...of late, but I have to deliver the manuscript for this book imminently (by tomorrow).  I will have a Sextonism Watch item tomorrow, and a bit more, I expect, next week.

September 14, 2006 in Navel-Gazing | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

September 11, 2006

For Chicago Law Students Interested in my Jurisprudence Seminar

On the off chance that some Chicago students visit this blog:  I appreciate the strong interest in the Jurisprudence seminar, and I plan to increase the size of the seminar significantly (at least 50%) in order to accomodate some of the students on the waitlist.  Please be there the first day if you remain interested in taking the seminar.  I hope to circulate this message via Chicago's "chalk" system, which I'm still figuring out. 

September 11, 2006 in Navel-Gazing | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

September 08, 2006

The Future for Philosophy is Here... paperback.  And the Spring will bring the truth, at last, about Nietzsche and Morality.

September 8, 2006 in Navel-Gazing | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

August 23, 2006

From Legal Realism to Naturalized Jurisprudence

I've posted the penultimate draft of the introduction to my collection of papers on Naturalizing Jurisprudence:  Essays on American Legal Realism and Naturalism in Legal Philosophy, which Oxford University Press will publish (simultaneously in both cloth and paper, happily) in 2007 (during the Spring, I hope).  The introduction, "From Legal Realism to Naturalized Jurisprudence," gives a general overview of the papers in the volume and the set of problems they address, and how they all hang together, more or less.  The book will also include two new Postscripts responding to a variety of critics.

A short excerpt from the introduction:

American Legal Realism was, quite justifiably, the major intellectual event in 20th-century American legal practice and scholarship,[1] so it was somewhat disheartening to me, with my philosopher’s hat on, to find that Realism was held in contempt, if noticed at all, by philosophers, even those with a substantial interest in law. The explanation for this state of affairs is, in retrospect, clear enough. On the one side, the Realists were not interested in philosophy, and tended to be intellectually reckless in some of their pronouncements. On the other side, the philosophers, who often knew little about law in practice (even those who were jurisprudents), were systematically misconstruing the kinds of questions Realists were asking.[2] Academic lawyers who tried to intervene[3] in some ways made matters worse in virtue of having a tin ear for philosophical questions and problems.[4] Other academic lawyers were content to offer useful intellectual histories of Realism, without regard for what was jurisprudentially significant.[5] What was needed was an explanation for why philosophers ought to care about the actual questions with which the Realists were concerned, and why the Realist questions were, in fact, questions within the purview of philosophical thinking about law.

Some time in the early 1990s, the relevant mediating consideration became clear to me: the legal philosophical tradition that had marginalized American Legal Realism was predicated on a conception of philosophy as beholden to the method of conceptual analysis via appeal to folk intuitions (as manifest, for example, in ordinary language), a metehod that was itself at risk of becoming an item of antiquarian interest in the context of the naturalistic revolution of late 20th-century philosophy. Recognize the Realists as “prescient philosophical naturalists,” and you now understand why most legal philosophers misunderstood them, and why they got so many things right.[6]

[1] As I argue in Ch. 3, economic analysis of law (the most influential intellectual event in American law since the 1970s) is reasonably understood as a continuation of the Realist program.

[2] H.L.A. Hart presents a complicated case, since he was an experienced English lawyer. Here part of the explanation may have to do with the differences between the U.S. and English legal systems, and, in particular, the respective roles of the courts.

[3] I am thinking especially of Robert S. Summers, Instrumentalism and American Legal Theory (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1982).

[4] This is brought out usefully by Michael S. Moore (discussing Summers) in “The Need for a Theory of Legal Theories: Assessing Pragmatic Instrumentalism,” reprinted in
Moore’s Educating Oneself in Public: Critical Essays in Jurisprudence (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000).

[5] Useful examples are William Twining, Karl Llewellyn and the Realist Movement (Norman: University Oklahoma Press, 1973) and G. Edward White, Patterns of American Legal Thought (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1978), esp. Chs. __ and __. Less satisfactory is the coverage of Realism in a more recent work of intellectual history, Neil Duxbury, Patterns of American Jurisprudence (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), as I discuss in Chapter 3.

[6] Chapters 1 and 2 try to make that case.

August 23, 2006 in Navel-Gazing | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

August 15, 2006

Anyone Have a Car in Chicago I Might "Rent"?

As many readers know, I'm going to be at the University of Chicago in the fall.  Driving from Austin is more hassle than it's worth, so I am wondering whether any readers in the Chicago area who might be on leave themselves in the fall, or who have an extra car, would be willing to "rent" me a vehicle for local use.  (Because I'll be commuting back and forth at various intervals between Chicago and Austin, I won't even be using a car continuously while there.)  If so, please e-mail me.  Many thanks.

UPDATE:  Someone suggested shipping the car, or getting it driven (try, which does both), which is what I may end up doing, though for a variety of reasons not worth boring folks with, leaving the car in Austin is preferable.

August 15, 2006 in Navel-Gazing | Permalink | TrackBack (0)