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November 29, 2014

In Memoriam: Jean Braucher (1950-2014)

Henderson Professor of Law at the University of Arizona, Professor Braucher was a leading scholar in the areas of contracts, bankruptcy and commercial law.  There is a memorial notice here.

(Thanks to Keith Rowley for the pointer.)

Posted by Brian Leiter on November 29, 2014 in Memorial Notices | Permalink

November 26, 2014

Wilson Named Dean of Tennessee

Professor Melanie Wilson, the associate dean ofacademic affairs at Kansas Law, has been named the new dean of the University of Tennessee School of Law.  

Posted by Dan Filler on November 26, 2014 in Faculty News | Permalink

November 25, 2014

Cercone Named Dean of Indiana Tech

Indiana Tech School of Law has named Charles Cercone, currently the associate dean of faculty at Thomas Cooley Law, as its new dean.  

Posted by Dan Filler on November 25, 2014 in Faculty News | Permalink

"Deep Disagreements: Philosophical and Legal Perspectives"

In Berlin in June.  There's also a call for papers.

Posted by Brian Leiter on November 25, 2014 in Jurisprudence | Permalink

November 24, 2014

Posner on Posner...

...at Concurring Opinions.

Posted by Brian Leiter on November 24, 2014 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Retinal detachment

Alas, I suffered one on Friday (though now being treated), which has mostly thrown me off-line and off reading, though I'm gradually getting a reprieve.  But between that and the Thanksgiving break, there likely won't be much until next week.

Posted by Brian Leiter on November 24, 2014 | Permalink

November 21, 2014

More new lawyer jobs than grads in 2016?

Ted Seto (Loyola/LA) looks at the new BLS projections.

Posted by Brian Leiter on November 21, 2014 in Legal Profession, Student Advice | Permalink

November 17, 2014

A sober and impartial analysis of the recent ranking of the "top 50" law faculties...

...from Professor Bainbridge at UCLA.

Posted by Brian Leiter on November 17, 2014 in Faculty News, Legal Humor, Rankings | Permalink

November 14, 2014

"The Paradoxes of Public Philosophy"

This is a lightly revised version of a paper I gave last week at a very enjoyable conference with philosophers and lawyers on "Philosophy in the Public Sphere" at the Jindal Global University in Sonipta, India, near Delhi; the abstract:

The idea of “public philosophy”—that is, philosophy as contributing to questions of moral and political urgency in the community in which it is located—is paradoxical for two reasons.   The first is that normative philosophy has no well-established substantive conclusions about the right and the good.  Thus, philosophers enter into moral and political debate purporting to offer some kind of expertise, but the expertise they offer can not consist in any credible claim to know what is good, right, valuable, or any other substantive normative proposition that might be decisive in practical affairs.  But philosophers—at least those in the broadly Socratic traditions--do bring to debate a method or way of thinking about contested normative questions:  they are good at parsing arguments, clarifying the concepts at play in a debate, teasing out the dialectical entailments of suppositions and claims, and so on:  Socratic philosophers are, in short, purveyors of what I call “discursive hygiene.”  This brings us to the second paradox:  although philosophers can contribute no substantive knowledge about the good and the right, they can contribute discursive hygiene.  But discursive hygiene plays almost no role in public life, and an only erratic, and highly contingent, role in how people form beliefs about matters of moral and political urgency.  I call attention to the role of two factors in moral judgment:  non-rational emotional responses and “Tribalism,” the tendency to favor members of one “tribe” at the expense of others.  The prevalence of emotional responses, especially tribalist ones, undermines the efficacy of discursive hygiene in public life.  
I conclude that the role for public philosophy is quite circumscribed, though public philosophers should learn from their cousins, the lawyers, who appreciate the role that rhetoric, beyond discursive hygiene, plays in changing moral attitudes and affecting action.  Along the way, I discuss Stevenson’s emotivism, what we can learn from Peter Singer’s schizophrenic role as a public philosopher (lauded for his defense of animal rights, pilloried for his defense of killing defective humans), evolutionary explanations of tribalism, the lessons of American Legal Realism for the possible relevance of discursive hygiene, and Marx and Nietzsche as "public" philosophers.

Posted by Brian Leiter on November 14, 2014 in Jurisprudence | Permalink

November 12, 2014

Class of 2014 LSAT scores did not predict the drop in MBE scores

Derek Muller (Pepperdine) looks at the data.

Posted by Brian Leiter on November 12, 2014 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink