Pragmatism, Logic and Law offers a view of legal pragmatism consistent with pragmatism writ large, tracing it from origins in late 19th century America to the present, covering various issues, legal cases, personalities, and relevant intellectual movements within and outside law. It addresses pragmatism’s relation to legal liberalism, legal positivism, natural law, critical legal studies (CLS), and post-Rorty “neopragmatism.” It views legal pragmatism as an exemplar of pragmatism’s general contribution to logical theory, which bears two connections to the western philosophical tradition: first, it extends Francis Bacon’s empiricism into contemporary aspects of scientific and legal experience, and second, it is an explicitly social reconstruction of logical induction. Both notions were articulated by John Dewey, and both emphasize the social or corporate element of human inquiry. Empiricism is informed by social as well as individual experience (which includes the problems of conflict and consensus). Rather than following the Aristotelian model of induction as immediate inference from particulars to generals, a model that assumes a consensual objective viewpoint, pragmatism explores the actual, and extended, process of corporate inference from particular experience to generalization, in law as in science. This includes the necessary process of resolving disagreement and finding similarity among relevant particulars.
Frederic R. Kellogg is visiting professor at the Federal University of Pernambuco in Recife, Brazil.
Part I: Origins of a Logical Reconstruction
Chapter 1: The Early History
Chapter 2: Induction in Law and Science
Chapter 3: Pragmatism and the Problem of Order
Chapter 4: Hume, Logical Induction, and Legal Reasoning
Part II: Pragmatism and Twentieth Century Legal Theory
Chapter 5: Positivism and the Myth of Legal Indeterminacy
Chapter 6: Pragmatism and Neopragmatism
Chapter 7: Liberalism and Critical Legal Theory
Part III: The Crisis of Contemporary Law
Chapter 8: Principles, Politics, and Legal Interpretation
Chapter 9: Legal Indeterminacy and the Hard Case
Chapter 10: The Abuse of Principle: Robert Alexy’s Jurisprudence
Part IV: The Future of Legal Pragmatism
Chapter 11: American Pragmatism and European Social Theory
Judicial independence from executive and legislative agendas has never been more important for constitutional integrity and national stability. The experimental logic of law, in the hands of philosophical pragmatism since O.W. Holmes Jr., can respect past precedent while attending to present-day life. Frederic Kellogg has impressively advanced our comprehension of American legal theory, and possibly rescued it from partisan occupation.