Inside or Outside the System?

41 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2013 Last revised: 6 Jun 2013

Eric A. Posner

University of Chicago - Law School

Adrian Vermeule

Harvard Law School

Date Written: March 11, 2013

Abstract

In a typical pattern in the literature on public law, the diagnostic sections of a paper draw upon political science, economics or other disciplines to offer deeply pessimistic accounts of the motivations of relevant actors in the legal system. The prescriptive sections of the paper, however, then issue an optimistic proposal that the same actors should supply public-spirited solutions. Where the analyst makes inconsistent assumptions about the motivations of actors within the legal system, equivocating between external and internal perspectives, an inside/outside fallacy arises. We identify the fallacy, connect it to an economics literature on the “determinacy paradox,” and elicit its implications for the theory of public law.

Suggested Citation

Posner, Eric A. and Vermeule, Adrian, Inside or Outside the System? (March 11, 2013). U of Chicago, Public Law Working Paper No. 422; Harvard Public Law Working Paper No. 13-23. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2232153 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2232153

Eric A. Posner (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Law School ( email )

1111 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
773-702-0425 (Phone)
773-702-0730 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.uchicago.edu/faculty/posner-e/

Adrian Vermeule

Harvard Law School ( email )

1525 Massachusetts
Griswold 500
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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