Cornell Law Review Volume 96 Issue 4

Turning the Tables on “Law and . . .”: A Jurisprudential Inquiry into Contemporary Legal Theory

The growing dominance of “law and . . . ” scholarship, especially in highly ranked law schools, should not be taken for granted. The movement has led to the flourishing of legal research, but it has also called into question the distinct contribution of purely legal scholarship. In matters of theory and methods, “law and . . . ” subordinates legal scholarship to other disciplines like economics, political science, history, sociology, statistics, philosophy, and literature. These disciplines provide the methods of analysis and the theory, while law becomes merely the subject matter of investigation. Law, to use a morbid metaphor, is akin to a patient who has donated her body to science. Doctors from different disciplines assemble around the bed and hover over the body to study it using the most advanced tools at their disposal. The corpse is still warm, but experimentation has already begun.

 

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