The Jurisprudence of Style: A Structuralist History of American Pragmatism and Liberal Legal Thought

The Jurisprudence of Style: A Structuralist History of American Pragmatism and Liberal Legal Thought

by Justin Desautels-Stein


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In the contemporary domain of American legal thought there is a dominant way in which lawyers and judges craft their argumentative practice. More colloquially, this is a dominant conception of what it means to 'think like a lawyer'. Despite the widespread popularity of this conception, it is rarely described in detail or given a name. Justin Desautels-Stein tells the story of how and why this happened, and why it matters. Drawing upon and updating the work of Harvard Law School's first generation of critical legal studies, Desautels-Stein develops what he calls a jurisprudence of style. In doing so, he uncovers the intellectual alliance, first emerging at the end of the nineteenth century and maturing in the last third of the twentieth century, between American pragmatism and liberal legal thought. Applying the tools of legal structuralism and phenomenology to real-world cases in areas of contemporary legal debate, this book develops a practice-oriented understanding of legal thought.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781107156654
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 02/22/2018
Series: Cambridge Historical Studies in American Law and Society
Pages: 316
Product dimensions: 6.22(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.91(d)

About the Author

Justin Desautels-Stein is a Professor of Law at the University of Colorado Law School.

Table of Contents

Overture; 1. The rise and fall of the Harvard School; 2. Towards a jurisprudence of style; 3. Structure and style in time; 4. The classical style 5. The modern style; 6. Liberal legalism and the context of legal thought; 7. American pragmatism; 8. Liberal legalism is dead: long live liberal legalism; 9. Trompe L'oeil liberalism; Coda.

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