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Copyright (c) 1995 The Trustees of The University of Pennsylvania 
University of Pennsylvania Law Review

ARTICLE: STANDING AND SOCIAL CHOICE: HISTORICAL EVIDENCE

December, 1995

144 U. Pa. L. Rev. 309

Author

Maxwell L. Stearns *

Excerpt

INTRODUCTION

The true test of any proposed model is neither its complexity nor its novelty. It is, instead, whether the model explains more data than the one that it is intended to supersede. The easiest way to criticize a model, including one built upon economic analysis, is to identify a point of reference, or datum, that the model fails to explain. The more difficult--and more useful--way to challenge a model, however, is to offer up an alternative that explains all the data that the prior model explains, plus one. Indeed, any scientific theory, including one based upon economic analysis, is valid only if it is falsifiable. 1 While it is invariably difficult to falsify any theory grounded in a social science, perhaps the best we can do is to embrace a credible theory--one that appeals to our intuition--until an alternative credible theory that accounts for at least one more datum is offered.

The lawyer faces a similar task. The effective lawyer learns to blend the image that affords her client relief with a larger and more compelling jurisprudential image composed of more points of reference--or dots--than that offered by her opponent. She does so by demonstrating that if the court grants her client relief, the picture that she has painted will remain essentially unchanged or, perhaps, even that its most important features will be sharpened. The ineffective lawyer, rather than offering up a new, and hopefully better, picture, simply tries to convince the decisionmaker that the existing picture is wrong. ...
 
 
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