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Theory Without Practice Is Empty; Practice Without Theory Is Blind: The Inherent Inseparability of Doctrine and Skills

Contained in Linda H. Edwards, The Doctrine Skills Divide: Legal Education’s Self-Inflicted Wound 77-90 (2017)

19 Pages Posted: 18 Dec 2017  

Harold Anthony Lloyd

Wake Forest University School of Law

Date Written: October 10, 2016

Abstract

This article maintains that the so-called theory-practice divide in legal education is not only factually false but semantically impossible.

As to the divide's falsity, practitioners have of course performed excellent scholarship and academics have excelled in practice. As to the divide's semantic impossibility, this article examines, among other things:

(1) the essential role of experience in meaning,

(2) the resulting inseparability of theory and practice in the world of experience,

(3) problems the divide shares in common with debunked Cartesian dualism, and

(4) modern cognitive psychology’s notions of embodied meaning which further underscore the semantic impossibility of separating theory from practice in the world of experience.

Using insights from such examinations, this article also explores implications of a debunked theory-practice divide for, among other things, law school curriculums and law school faculty hiring standards.

Keywords: legal education, legal writing, semantics, theory, practice, experience, Charles Sanders Peirce, embodied meaning, cognitive psychology, Cartesian dualism, affordance knowledge, metaphor, George Lakoff, category, humanities, Langdell, pragmatism, semiotics, philosophy

Suggested Citation

Lloyd, Harold Anthony, Theory Without Practice Is Empty; Practice Without Theory Is Blind: The Inherent Inseparability of Doctrine and Skills (October 10, 2016). Contained in Linda H. Edwards, The Doctrine Skills Divide: Legal Education’s Self-Inflicted Wound 77-90 (2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3087648

Harold Anthony Lloyd (Contact Author)

Wake Forest University School of Law ( email )

Winston-Salem, NC
United States
336-758-5885 (Phone)

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