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.

Posted by Brian Leiter on December 12, 2006 in Navel-Gazing | Permalink | TrackBack

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.

Posted by Brian Leiter on October 19, 2006 in Navel-Gazing | Permalink | TrackBack

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.

Posted by Brian Leiter on September 14, 2006 in Navel-Gazing | Permalink | TrackBack

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. 

Posted by Brian Leiter on September 11, 2006 in Navel-Gazing | Permalink | TrackBack

September 08, 2006

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

Posted by Brian Leiter on September 8, 2006 in Navel-Gazing | Permalink | TrackBack

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.

Posted by Brian Leiter on August 23, 2006 in Navel-Gazing | Permalink | TrackBack

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.

Posted by Brian Leiter on August 15, 2006 in Navel-Gazing | Permalink | TrackBack

June 14, 2006

San Diego Vacation

There are many lovely things about living in Austin...but the relentless summer heat is not one of them!  In consequence, we like to flee for a bit during the summer to the place that is both easy to get to and has a perfect climate:  San Diego.  If anyone has advice about a nice hotel/resort that is children-friendly, I'd be grateful; so far, we haven't found such a place.  Please e-mail me.  Many thanks!

UPDATE:  My sincere gratitude for the helpful feedback.  The consensus winners were (in the "luxury") category the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club; Hilton La Jolla Grande Torrey Pines; Hotel Del Coronado (with some dissenters on that one); and, in the nice but not as expensive category, the Catamaran (on Mission Bay) and the Sea Lodge in La Jolla.  Other folks offered good tips on lodging North of San Diego too.  My thanks again!

Posted by Brian Leiter on June 14, 2006 in Navel-Gazing | Permalink | TrackBack

May 26, 2006

New Paper: "Why Tolerate Religion?"

I have posted a new paper--the subject of my 'Or 'Emet Lecture at Osgoode Hall Law School of York University, Toronto this past March--on the subject:  "Why Tolerate Religion?"  You may download the working draft here.  Comments are welcome.  Here is the abstract:

Religious toleration has long been the paradigm of the liberal ideal of toleration of group differences, as reflected in both the constitutions of the major Western democracies and in the theoretical literature explaining and justifying these practices. While the historical reasons for the special “pride of place” accorded religious toleration are familiar, what is surprising is that no one has been able to articulate a credible principled argument for tolerating religion qua religion: that is, an argument that would explain why, as a matter of moral or other principle, we ought to accord special legal and moral treatment to religious practices. There are, to be sure, principled arguments for why the state ought to tolerate a plethora of private choices, commitments, and practices of its citizenry, but none of these single out religion for anything like the special treatment it is accorded in, for example, American and Canadian constitutional law. So why tolerate religion? Not because of anything that has to do with it being religion as such—or so this paper argues.

Posted by Brian Leiter on May 26, 2006 in Navel-Gazing | Permalink | TrackBack

May 19, 2006

Congratulations UT Law Class of 2006!

It's been a pleasure and privilege to have had the opportunity to work with many of you during your time in the Law School. I'm sure I speak for all my colleagues in wishing you much professional success and personal happiness in the years ahead.  I look forward to seeing many of you at tomorrow's graduation ceremony.

Posted by Brian Leiter on May 19, 2006 in Navel-Gazing | Permalink | TrackBack