Review Essay: Legal Thought in Enlightenment's Wake

Jeffrey A. Pojanowski

Notre Dame Law School

September 28, 2012

4 Jurisprudence, 2013, Forthcoming
Notre Dame Legal Studies Paper No. 12-80

This review essay considers Steven D. Smith’s most recent book, The Disenchantment of Secular Discourse. Rather than focusing on the book’s argument about the practices and pathologies of the public square, this essay uses Smith’s chapter on scientific thought as a platform for exploring connections between Disenchantment and Smith’s prior work in legal theory. The catalyst for these reflections is Scandinavian legal realism. Considering these elements together sheds light on both the limits and virtues of central ideas about legal obligation and authority in contemporary jurisprudence. Such perspective points to a broader argument that jurisprudential debates about methodology and concepts may be as much about how we read the universe as they are about how we understand law.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 19

Keywords: jurisprudence, legal theory, obligation, authority, conceptual analysis, legal positivism

JEL Classification: K10

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Date posted: September 28, 2012 ; Last revised: October 2, 2012

Suggested Citation

Pojanowski, Jeffrey A., Review Essay: Legal Thought in Enlightenment's Wake (September 28, 2012). 4 Jurisprudence, 2013, Forthcoming ; Notre Dame Legal Studies Paper No. 12-80. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2153844

Contact Information

Jeffrey A. Pojanowski (Contact Author)
Notre Dame Law School ( email )
P.O. Box 780
Notre Dame, IN 46556-0780
United States

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