Therapeutic Jurisprudence and the Culture of Critique
Journal of Contemporary Legal issues, Vol. 10, 263-277, 1999
16 Pages Posted: 3 Jan 2000 Last revised: 25 Oct 2013
Date Written: October 24, 2013
In "The Argument Culture," linguist Deborah Tannen explores how a culture of argumentation and critique severely limits creative problem solving. A culture of critique pervades western society and manifests itself in politics, journalism, academia, and law. Tannen's concern is not with argumentation itself, but rather with a culture that privileges critique and disparages other approaches of intellectual inquiry, such as integrative thinking. This article summarizes Tannen's thesis and prescriptions and then traces the evolution of the field of therapeutic jurisprudence, indicating how the latter has overwhelmingly been the product of just the alternative paths of intellectual inquiry suggested by Tannen. Therapeutic jurisprudence is the study of the role of the law as a potential therapeutic agent and is an optimistic perspective, combing relevant behavioral science literature for promising results and creatively exploring how such findings might be imported into the law and the legal system.
Keywords: Therapeutic jurisprudence, culture of critique, Deborah Tannen, argument culture
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