Establishing Relations Between Law and Other Forms of Thought and Language
James Boyd White
University of Michigan at Ann Arbor Law School
Erasmus Law Review, Vol. 1, No. 3, 2008
U of Michigan Public Law Working Paper No. 113
The law does not, and could not, exist in an intellectual or linguistic vacuum. No one believes that the law is or should be impervious to other languages, other bodies of knowledge. In this sense the argument about the 'autonomy' of law is an empty one: law cannot be, should not be, perfectly autonomous, unconnected with any other system of thought and expression; yet it plainly has it own identity as a discourse, it own intellectual and linguistic habits, which it is our task as lawyers to understand and develop. It follows that an essential topic of legal thought is the proper relation between law and other forms of thought and expression - a topic that is important, difficult and full of interest. In this paper, Professor White compares three ways in which the law is related to other fields: translation (as in the use of expert testimony), disciplinary imperialism (as in law and economics), and comparison of modes of thought and expression (as in law and literature).
Number of Pages in PDF File: 21
Keywords: legal thought, law and literature, law and economics, language, linguistic, justice as translation, interdisciplinarity, psychiatric testimony
Date posted: June 11, 2008 ; Last revised: October 29, 2012
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