Thursday, April 29, 2010

Legal Theory Lexicon: The Law Is A Seamless Web

F.W. Maitland, the famous legal historian wrote, "Such is the unity of all history that any one who endeavors to tell a piece of it must feel that his first sentence tears a seamless web."  (A Prologue to a History of English Law, 14 L. Qtrly Rev. 13 (1898))  Maitland didn't actually say that the "law is a seamless web," but he is usually given credit for the idea that the law forms some kind of "organic unity" or is characterized by strong interconnections.  The idea that law is seamless web is ambiguous--the aphorism expresses different ideas on different occasions.  This post in the Legal Theory Lexicon series will explicate the seamless web metaphor and its several implications for legal theory.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Legal Theory Lexicon: Contractarianism, Contractualism, and the Social Contract


Some of the key conceptual tools deployed by legal theorists are likely to be familiar to most law students from their undergraduate education.  One of these is the notion of the "social contract"--familiar from Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau.  But unless you were an undergraduate philosophy major or have some graduate work in philosophy, you may not be as familiar with some of the ideas that have grown out of the social-contract tradition.

Shin on Unconscious Discrimination


A steadily mounting body of social science research suggests that ascertaining a person's conscious motives for an action may not always provide a complete explanation of why he did it. The phenomenon of unconscious bias presents a worrisome impediment to the achievement of fair equality in the workplace. There have been numerous deeply insightful articles discussing various aspects of this problem and canvassing its implications for antidiscrimination law.