A Rejoinder to Glenn

Journal of Comparative Law, Vol. 2, p. 88, 2007

8 Pages Posted: 31 Oct 2007

See all articles by Andrew Halpin

Andrew Halpin

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Faculty of Law


This response to Patrick Glenn's reply to a collaborative survey of his LEGAL TRADITIONS OF THE WORLD (2nd ed, 2004) continues the discussion of topics raised there in relation to Glenn's treatment of tradition: language games and interpretive communities; incommensurability; and multivalence.

The distinction between a multi-faceted approach and a multivalent approach is clarified further, in the context of drawing upon a richer array of resources than openness to a broader collection of traditions would provide.

The totalising force of tradition as an intellectual outlook in Glenn's work is examined further, and separated as an issue from the totalitarian nature of particular traditions. It is compared to the attribution of a totalising force to other ideas, such as culture, and ideology.

Reasons are provided for thinking that Glenn's approach to tradition fails to advance either our understanding of law or the comparative enterprise. In particular, it is pointed out that Glenn fails to deal with the role of law in opposing conduct as much as accommodating it; and neglects the need for comparative law to illuminate both points of comparison that might be brought into deeper coexistence and points of contrast that reveal deeper conflict.

Keywords: Glenn, tradition, comparative law, interpretive community, incommensurability, multivalence, the totalising force of ideas

Suggested Citation

Halpin, Andrew, A Rejoinder to Glenn. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1025860

Andrew Halpin (Contact Author)

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Faculty of Law ( email )

469G Bukit Timah Road
Eu Tong Sen Building
Singapore, 259776

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