Legal theory must become more factual and empirical and less conceptual and polemical, Richard Posner argues in this wide-ranging new book. The topics covered include the structure and behavior of the legal profession; constitutional theory; gender, sex, and race theories; interdisciplinary approaches to law; the nature of legal reasoning; and legal pragmatism. Posner analyzes, in witty and passionate prose, schools of thought as different as social constructionism and institutional economics, and scholars and judges as different as Bruce Ackerman, Robert Bork, Ronald Dworkin, Catharine MacKinnon, Richard Rorty, and Patricia Williams. He also engages challenging issues in legal theory that range from the motivations and behavior of judges and the role of rhetoric and analogy in law to the rationale for privacy and blackmail law and the regulation of employment contracts. Although written by a sitting judge, the book does not avoid controversy; it contains frank appraisals of radical feminist and race theories, the behavior of the German and British judiciaries in wartime, and the excesses of social constructionist theories of sexual behavior.
Throughout, the book is unified by Posner's distinctive stance, which is pragmatist in philosophy, economic in methodology, and liberal (in the sense of John Stuart Mill's liberalism) in politics. Brilliantly written, eschewing jargon and technicalities, it will make a major contribution to the debate about the role of law in our society.
Judge Posner's book...is about the economics of practicing and studying law: the incentives and disincentives faced by judges, lawyers and law professors. The book describes the legal profession as a collapsing cartel, a decadent guild coming to terms with market competition...It is by far the best--the most scholarly, the most thoughtful, as well as the sharpest and most provocative--of the current crop of commentaries on the plight of law today.
Overcoming Law collects Richard Posner's major articles and essays from recent years. While the book is an assemblage of smaller pieces, "it is meant to be read consecutively" and in fact lays out a distinct and formidable theme: a view of law Posner describes as "pragmatic" rather than formalistic or ideological...One lingering aftertaste of the book is that political and intellectual labels in our time have been degraded almost beyond recognition. Another, and stronger, is that Posner is the real thing: a philosopher and intellectual who despite his immense learning has retained a strong sense of the humane and the decent. If that is pragmatism, then we need more of it.
Reflecting the breadth of the author's interest, the book ranges widely through the law and beyond...Posner is clearer here than in any of his previous work that there is--that there must be--more to the practice of judging than economics, or any similarly formal deductive system, can provide...His ideas are surely worth a look.
Overcoming Law takes the reader on a dazzling intellectual tour. Judge Richard Posner offers fascinating commentary on subjects ranging from the law of medieval Iceland to the legal community of the contemporary South Bronx. His interests range from the organization of legal services to the economics of homosexuality. Moreover, Posner is an exceptionally accessible and civil guide to this remarkable range of legal concerns.
A dazzling collection of recent essays...Richard Posner is the most prolific and creative judge now sitting on the federal bench. The essays in Overcoming Law, like everything he writes, are exhilarating in their range and wit and candor.
Overcoming Law is an extraordinary book, brimming with stimulating ideas on almost every page. I couldn't put it down. The book will trigger some significant national debates, especially given the blazing attacks the author delivers on the limitations of contemporary legal education and the deficiencies of contemporary legal thought, including that manifested by the Supreme Court. In breadth of interest, he can be compared only to people like Holmes, William O. Douglas, Jerome Frank, and Joseph Story.
Overcoming Law is as good as anything being written about law and legal scholarship today. The essays go for the intellectual jugular; they're sometimes devastatingly witty; and on occasion, even passionate. Posner is a towering figure in American law, both as a judge and as a scholar, and one of his greatest merits has been his capacity for intellectual growth. This book demonstrates a major development in his thought.
- 608 pages
- 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
From this author
Sorry, there was an error adding the item to your shopping bag.
Sorry, your session has expired. Please refresh your browser's tab.