Intellection and Indiscipline

21 Pages Posted: 17 Nov 2009

See all articles by Peter Goodrich

Peter Goodrich

Yeshiva University - Cardozo Law School


A discipline will usually become the object of study and its relationship to other disciplines a moment of concern when its borders are precarious and its definition in dispute. Law, ‘the oldest social science’, is arguably both prior to discipline — it emerges initially and most forcefully as a practice — and without discipline, its object being potentially all human behaviour. If law is necessarily between and among disciplines, both prone to moonlighting and everywhere homeless, it will also always be in some mode of scholarly crisis. Certain conclusions follow. Law is paradoxically dependent upon other disciplines for its access to the domains that it regulates. The greater its epistemic dependency, however, the slighter its political acknowledgment of that subordination. Which allows a positive thesis: the epistemic drift of law can carry the discipline to a frank acknowledgment of the value of indiscipline both to novelty and intellection.

Suggested Citation

Goodrich, Peter, Intellection and Indiscipline. Journal of Law and Society, Vol. 36, Issue 4, pp. 460-480, December 2009. Available at SSRN: or

Peter Goodrich (Contact Author)

Yeshiva University - Cardozo Law School ( email )

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