Posted by: captainfalcon | May 10, 2010

Thought for the Day

From (who else?) Robert Paul Wolff:

[L]awyers, unlike serious philosophers [but, in this regard, quite like second-rate philosophers], do not actually seek to demonstrate the positions they defend. Rather, they aim to assimilate issues with which they are concerned to the existing structure of laws and precedents in hopes that courts will construe those issues in ways that favor their clients. For this purpose, lawyers need a large and versatile armamentarium of concepts, categories, distinctions, and argument-fragments with the aid of which they can articulate intuitions, convictions, or interests to which they are already committed. Both utilitarianism and cost/benefit analysis provide just such weapons to advocates of the left or the right, none of whom can be said ever to prove their positions, but all of whom gain argumentative leverage from their ability to embed their advocacy in a preexisting proof structure.

I will have to remember all that, and its source.



  1. […] Balkin wants in on it. I analyzed his “strategic deployment of originalism” here; RPW explains that it’s just lawyering-as-usual: [L]awyers, unlike serious philosophers [but, in this […]

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