Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1011328
 


 



The Mechanics of Perfection: Philosophy, Theology and the Foundations of American Law


Larry Catá Backer


Pennsylvania State University - Dickinson School of Law


ON PHILOSOPHY IN AMERICAN LAW, F.J. Mootz, ed., Cambridge University Press, 2009

Abstract:     
Americans have been obsessed about the mechanics of perfectibility. Perfectibility is built into the constitutive documents of the American Republic. The expression of that perfection is Law, and Government provides the means. The mechanics of perfectibility lies in philosophy and theology. Through these mechanics Americans can discern the spirit of perfection - as God or as the genius of the American community made manifest. The essay considers these notions in the context of two cases, Swift v. Tyson (1842) and Erie Railroad Co. v. Tomkins (1938), which provide both the antipodes of American conceptions of the sources and hierarchy of law, and also suggest the mechanics of a mandatory perfectibility in American. But the judge is not the only intermediary between perfection and its expression in law. The essay suggests the way the political branches also seek the role of privileged (and uniquely privileged) intermediaries between the people and perfection. The essay ends with a consideration of the value of the theology of faith and reason in the elaboration of American jurisprudence.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 9

Keywords: jurisprudence, constitutional law

JEL Classification: K19, K40

Accepted Paper Series


Download This Paper

Date posted: September 1, 2007 ; Last revised: August 5, 2008

Suggested Citation

Backer, Larry Catá, The Mechanics of Perfection: Philosophy, Theology and the Foundations of American Law. ON PHILOSOPHY IN AMERICAN LAW, F.J. Mootz, ed., Cambridge University Press, 2009. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1011328

Contact Information

Larry Catá Backer (Contact Author)
Pennsylvania State University - Dickinson School of Law ( email )
University Park
239 Lewis Katz Building
University Park, PA 16802-1913
United States
814-863-3640 (Phone)
814-863-7274 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://backerinlaw.com
Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 1,271
Downloads: 124
Download Rank: 133,907

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo4 in 0.250 seconds