Copyright (c) 1994 The University of Toledo
Toledo Law Review
ROUNDTABLE ON LEGAL HERMENEUTIC: LAW AND PHILOSOPHY, PHILOSOPHY AND LAW
26 U. Tol. L. Rev. 127
Francis J. Mootz III *
A roundtable discussion about the relevance of contemporary hermeneutical philosophy for legal theory raises a foundational question often neglected in interdisciplinary articles: What is the relationship between law and philosophy? 1 The burgeoning scholarship drawing connections between legal theory and philosophy increasingly has come under attack for displaying a naive view about the potential legitimate exchanges between philosophers and legal academics. I have written elsewhere at length about the important insights that philosophical hermeneutics can lend to jurisprudential discussions of the rule of law. 2 In this essay, I develop my argument by stepping back and attending more generally to the connections between the work of contemporary philosophers and the work of legal theorists. In part I, I describe several recent critical rejoinders to efforts by legal scholars to utilize philosophy in legal theory. In part II, I respond to these critiques and argue that attempts to connect contemporary hermeneutical philosophy to legal theory are legitimate and important undertakings. In part III, I contend that contemporary philosophy can benefit from an interdisciplinary exchange with law.
I. LAW AND PHILOSOPHY: INTERDISCIPLINARY SCHOLARSHIP UNDER FIRE
A. A Question of Competence
Interdisciplinary research will yield no insight if the legal theorist (or philosopher) demonstrates an inadequate understanding of philosophy (or law). Mark Tushnet has cautioned against the "lawyer as astrophysicist" hubris that sometimes leads legal thinkers to believe that they can master any discipline with relatively little effort. 3 Tushnet's generalized concern recently has been voiced with greater specificity by ...
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