Review Essay: Legal Thought in Enlightenment's Wake
4 Jurisprudence, 2013, Forthcoming
19 Pages Posted: 28 Sep 2012 Last revised: 2 Oct 2012
Date Written: September 28, 2012
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.
Keywords: jurisprudence, legal theory, obligation, authority, conceptual analysis, legal positivism
JEL Classification: K10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation