Law Quadrangle (formerly Law Quad Notes)


To say precisely when legal theory reached its current dead end would be more difficult and less to the point than describing the nature of the impasse and its causes. By "legal theory" I mean that body of speculative thought about the nature of law that has dominated analytical jurisprudence since John Austin's lectures on the subject a century-and-a-half ago. By "dead" I mean what the term suggests in ordinary speech: lifeless, drained of connections to any of the purposes that give meaning to human life. Dead "end" I suggest, rather than dead simpliciter because, unlike others who mock the sterility of these disputes, I do not believe that the basic enterprise is misconceived so much as misdirected. Legal theory has taken a turn that can only end in an increasing divergence between the phenomena it analyzes and the actual experience of ordinary citizens.