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Learning and Unlearning in the Legal Academy

29 Pages Posted: 26 Oct 2009 Last revised: 20 Aug 2010

Maksymilian T. Del Mar

University of London - Queen Mary - Department of Law

Date Written: October 25, 2009


This paper argues that education, at its best, is based on a combination of learning and unlearning. Learning involves the development of sensory intelligence, a dynamic form of knowledge that is anticipatory and orientating. This sensory intelligence is always stylised, i.e., it consists in relations formed, over a certain period of time, by the senses with specific features of the environment. Unlearning, on the other hand, is the process of challenging this stylised sensory intelligence. These styles of seeing (and experiencing) are challenged by encouraging and facilitating different kinds of relations with these specific (or other) features of the environment. The paper is structured into three parts. The first part illustrates the principal themes of the paper by working through a number of examples of seeing (and experiencing). The second part elaborates and organises these themes into the above two concepts of learning and unlearning. The third part then applies the model of education (i.e., the combination of learning and unlearning) to the legal academy by focusing on two commonly engaged in activities: first, reading legal texts; and second, providing (hypothetical) legal advice.

Keywords: legal education, sensory intelligence, dynamic knowledge, reading legal texts, legal advice, clinical legal education

JEL Classification: K00

Suggested Citation

Del Mar, Maksymilian T., Learning and Unlearning in the Legal Academy (October 25, 2009). Available at SSRN: or

Maksymilian T. Del Mar (Contact Author)

University of London - Queen Mary - Department of Law ( email )

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London, E1 4NS
United Kingdom

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