Copyright (c) 1998 Notre Dame Law Review
University of Notre Dame
ARTICLE: EXPLORING THE COMPLICATIONIST GAMBIT: AN AUSTRIAN APPROACH TO THE ECONOMIC ANALYSIS OF LAW
73 Notre Dame L. Rev. 315
Gregory Scott Crespi *
The real danger...is the opposite of reductionism: call it complicationism.
- Richard Posner 1 The more [one] accepts as relevant, the less onecan say at all... Tunnel vision is the price we pay for avoiding total blindness.
- Arthur Allen Leff 2 We must at all costs avoid over-simplification ...
- J.L. Austin 3 The social sciences...have to deal with structures of essential complexity...whose characteristic properties can be exhibited only by models made up of relatively large numbers of variables... I prefer true but imperfect knowledge...to a pretence of exact knowledge that is likely to be false....Seemingly simple but false theories may...have grave consequences.
- Friedrich Hayek 4
Over the past several decades the methods of inquiry developed in the social sciences have been broadly incorporated into legal scholarship and law school curricula. In particular, economic principles are now widely utilized to illuminate relationships that are often obscured by conventional legal categorizations. 5 The incorporation of economic theory into legal scholarship and education is arguably one of the two most significant jurisprudential developments over that period. 6
There now exists a wide-ranging and technically sophisticated body of legal scholarship that utilizes economic models to explain and predict the consequences of legal rules, and that applies normative economic criteria to evaluate alternative legal and institutional regimes. In addition, most major American law schools now regularly offer at least one upper-level elective course, generally titled either "Economic Analysis of Law" or "Law and Economics," that reviews the concepts of basic and ...
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