Saturday, June 23, 2012

Social Science Research Network

I strongly encourage readers to join the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) if you have not already. A fantastic and free depository of online research in law, philosophy, political science, and many other subjects that I have found extremely worthwhile. It's easy to register, use, and discover new work. I have been using it for the last few years -- my papers are found here - and it has been enormously useful. The main website is here and highly recommended.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

APA Committee on Philosophy and Law

Colleagues working in legal philosophy should consider a three-year appointment to the American Philosophical Association's Committee on Philosophy and Law. I joined the committee in 2007 and I have served as its Chair since 2009. (I remain especially grateful to the APA for this honour in light of my working outside North America during this time.) My term expires shortly and I will be replaced by the fantastic Melinda Roberts.

Committee activities are primarily centred on organizing panels at the APA's divisional meetings (Eastern, Central, Pacific). Further activities include our Berger Prize for best essay in legal philosophy awarded every two years. We also regularly publish an illuminating Newsletter. The committee offers several opportunities to become more involved in the workings of the APA and the promotion of the philosophy of law in the discipline.

Nominations remain open -- and candidates may self-nominate themselves. It is required that all nominees are APA members. The APA website is here. Interested colleagues should feel free to contact me via my homepage if there are any questions.

Res Philosophica

Some breaking news on a journal relaunch. The journal The Modern Schoolman is being relaunched as Res Philosophica. Details here.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

"The Academic Journal Editor: Secrets Revealed"

This is an editorial will appear in Journal of Moral Philosophy 9(3) (2012) that can be found HERE. The abstract:

"Academic publishing is a world filled with more mystery than revelation. Often the best advice is made available only to those lucky enough to hear it by word of mouth. This is no less true with editing academic journals. I have enjoyed the honour of launching the Journal of Moral Philosophy and serving as its editor for the last ten years. I actively sought out the best advice on a number of issues from editors serving on leading journals as well as their publishers. Despite the fact that most of the conversations focused on journals in the areas of law, philosophy, and political science, I believe that much of the general advice remains true for most disciplines.


This editorial brings together some lessons learned over the years and reveals some secrets about the trade. My purpose is to improve the information available to share best practice and offer some insight into the minds of academic journal editors. This is a task I have performed previously on the topics of publishing advice and referee guidelines that I extend now to journal editing. I begin with a brief note about my background experiences before moving to advice on how to successfully propose a new journal to a publisher. I then discuss topics such as managing a journal launch before considering advice on the effective management of submissions received and further advice on journal development."

Friday, June 08, 2012

Brian Leiter on "Legal Realisms, Old and New"

. . .  can be found HERE and ESSENTIAL reading for anyone with an interest in the subject. The abstract:

"“Legal Realism” now has sufficient cache that scholars from many different fields and countries compete to claim the mantle of the "Realist program": from political scientists who study judicial behavior, to the "law and society" scholars associated with the Wisconsin New Legal Realism project, to philosophers interested in a naturalized jurisprudence. But what does it mean to be a “legal realist”? What unites the two most famous “old” Legal Realisms—the American and the Scandinavian—with the “new legal realism” invoked, variously, by sociologists, anthropologists, and political scientists, among others? There are, of course, other “legal realisms,” old and new, from the “free law” movement in Germany more than a century ago, to the Italian realism of the Genoa School today. My focus, however, shall be on the old and new Realisms that are probably most familiar. Is there anything they all share?

I argue that (1) American and Scandinavian Realism have almost nothing in common--indeed, that H.L.A. Hart misunderstood the latter as he did the former, and that the Scandinavians are closer to Hart and even Kelsen than they are to the Americans; (2) all Realists share skepticism about the causal efficacy of legal doctrine in explaining judicial decisions ("the Skeptical Doctrine") (though the Scandinavian skepticism on this score is not at all specific to the legal domain, encompassing all explanation in terms of norms); (3) American Realism almost entirely eschewed social-scientific methods in its defense of the Skeptical Doctrine, contrary to the impression given by much recent work by "new" legal realists; (4) the myth that the American Realists were seriously interested in social science derives mainly from two unrepresentative examples, Underhill Moore's behaviorism and Llewellyn's work with the Cheyenne Indians. Moore's case is a cautionary note in taking au courant social science too seriously; and Llewellyn's work was necessitated by the fact that the "primitive" peoples he wanted to study did not write their judicial opinions down. For any modern legal culture, such "field work" would be unnecessary on Llewellyn's view."

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Looks Philosophical

. . . is a website that showcases philosophers in a different light. Send your photos and comments in now to be considered. My spot is found here.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Austerity isn't working - the evidence

A MUST WATCH debate broadcast on the BBC is available here. The debate was aired on BBC Newsnight with guests Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman, venture capitalist (and sometimes agitated pen waver) Jon Moulton, and Conservative MP Andrea Leadsom. Krugman -- almost too easily -- exposes austerity myths for what they are and shows how calls for austerity appear to be driven far more from ideological zeal than economic evidence. Brilliance.