Plunkett on Conceptual History

David Plunkett (UCLA/Dartmouth) will be presenting a paper on the role of conceptual history in normative inquiry on Tuesday, May 1, at 9 AM at UCLA.  If you would like to attend, please email Jonathan Gingerich for a copy of the paper and details about where to meet.

Published in: on April 26, 2012 at 7:24 am  Leave a Comment  

Michel Foucault, “Security, Territory, Population”

This spring, we’re reading Michel Foucault’s “Security, Territory, Population,” the 1978 College de France Lectures. We are meeting Thursday evenings at 7 PM at UCLA in Dodd Hall 399. If you would like to receive regular emails about the readings for the group this spring, please contact Jonathan Gingerich.

Published in: on March 1, 2012 at 6:09 am  Leave a Comment  

Next Meeting: Thu., April 28, Dewey on “Logical Method and Law”

The legal theory reading group will be meeting on Thursday, April 28 at 7:15 PM in Dodd 399 to discuss John Dewey, Logical Method and Law, 10 Cornell L.Q. 17 (1924) [Hein].

This is the last of the readings that we have planned for our spring meetings. Since the law school’s finals are in early May, we may not meet two weeks after our Dewey discussion, instead meeting next sometime early in the summer in a more social setting. Let me know if you have other ideas.

[Also, I apologize for not doing a better job at keeping the blog updated for the last couple of months. We met on Thursday, April 14, when we discussed Karl Llewellyn, Some Realism About Realism–Responding to Dean Pound, 44 Harv. L. Rev. 1222 (1931) [Hein] and on Thursday, March 31, when we discussed some materials by Roscoe Pound and Jerome Frank taken from American Legal Realism (William W. Fisher III, Morton J. Horwitz & Thomas A. Reed eds., 1993).]

Published in: on April 23, 2011 at 7:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

Next Meeting: Thursday, March 10: Felix Cohen

A lot of people weren’t able to make it last night, so those of us who were there decided it would be best to push back the discussion of the Cohen article until our next meeting, on March 10 at 7:15 PM in Dodd 399.

If you’re short on time, I recommend reading pp. 809-18, 838-42, and 847-49.

If you’d like me to resend any of the materials, please let me know.


Published in: on February 25, 2011 at 10:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

Next Meeting Thu. Feb. 24

Our next meeting will be on Thursday, February 24 at 7:15 PM in Dodd 399. We will discuss Felix Cohen, Transcendental Nonsense and the Functional Approach, 35 Colum. L. Rev. 809 (1935) (Hein).

In the next few days, I’ll try to post the most important parts of the article to focus on when reading.


Published in: on February 17, 2011 at 11:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

Next Meeting THU. FEB. 10, Hale: Coercion and Distribution

At our last meeting, we decided to move our next meeting up a week, so that we aren’t meeting on the same days that the UCLA Legal Theory Workshop has speakers. This means that we’ll be meeting this Thursday, February 10, at 7:15 PM in Dodd 399. (The subsequent meeting will be on February 24.)

We will discuss Robert Hale, Coercion and Distribution in a Supposedly Non-Coercive State, 38. Pol. Sci. Q. 470 (1923) (JSTOR).

The first nine pages (470-78) cover most of Hale’s important arguments, and if you’ve read those pages and the last paragraph of the article (493-94), you should be ready for the discussion. The last five pages (490-94) provide some helpful expansions of Hale’s earlier arguments. The middle of the article includes Hale’s review of Thomas Nixon Carver’s proposals to increase the price of labor and decrease the price of capital (478-82) and a discussion of redistributive taxation (482-90) (which may be a bit difficult to follow at points for people who haven’t taken tax).

Published in: on February 7, 2011 at 11:11 pm  Leave a Comment  

Hohfeld, “Fundamental Legal Conceptions,” Thu., Feb. 3, Dodd 399

This spring, the Legal Theory Reading Group will meet biweekly on Thursdays at 7:15 pm. Our next meeting will be Thursday, February 3, at 7:15 PM in Dodd Hall room 399, when we will discuss Wesley Hohfeld, “Some Fundamental Legal Conceptions as Applied in Judicial Reasoning,” 23 Yale L.J. 16 (1913) (available in JSTOR and Hein).

Published in: on January 27, 2011 at 10:41 am  Leave a Comment  

Agenda and Logistics for the Semester

At our meeting last week, we reached decisions (at least for now) about our agenda for our next several meetings, and about how we’ll run our meetings.

Meetings and Dinner: We decided that we would plan on meeting biweekly on Thursday evenings at 7:15 pm in Dodd 399. We decided that we would like to have dinner at our meetings. I’ll make arrangements for food and everyone who comes can chip in a few dollars to cover the cost of the food. Please try to RSVP for meetings (or tell me if you’re a “maybe”) so that I know how much food I should arrange for.

Topics for Discussion: We decided that for our next three meetings, we’ll read articles from several writers classifiable as “legal realists.” At our second meeting, we’ll discuss Hohfeld’s article, “Some Fundamental Legal Conceptions as Applied in Judicial Reasoning,” 23 Yale L.J. 16 (1913). At our third meeting, we’ll discuss Robert Hale, “Coercion and Distribution in a Supposedly Noncoercive State,” 38 Political Science Quarterly 470 (1923), and at our fourth meeting, we’ll discuss Felix Cohen, “Transcendental Nonsense and the Functional Approach,” 35 Columbia Law Review 809 (1935). These articles, along with some helpful introductions, are all anthologized in David Kennedy & William Fisher III, The Canon of American Legal Thought (2006) (available on Amazon). They are also all available on JSTOR and/or Hein, and I’ll distribute copies of the introductions from the Kennedy & Fisher volume in advance of our meetings. Once we’ve worked through these three articles, we’ll pick something else to read.

Background on Realism: I promised that I would find some short background material on American Legal Realism. If you would like a very brief (5 page) overview of American Legal Realism, you might try the editors introduction to American Legal Realism (William Fisher III, Morton Horwitz, & Thomas Reed eds., 1993), which provides a very quick overview of the realist movement.

Discussion Format and Reading: We agreed that we’ll all try to do all of the reading, but anyone who hasn’t been able to do all of the reading is still completely welcome to come. To make things easier for anyone who doesn’t have time to read a whole article, I’ll send out a note in advance of each of our meetings noting some of the most important sections or pages of an article. We also agreed that we’ll try to have fairly unstructured discussions of the articles, but that one person will volunteer to come up with a few questions in advance of each meeting so that we have something to turn to in case discussion slows down (at least for now–we can see how this works and reevaluate if need be). Also, anyone who would like to do so should feel free to circulate questions that occur to them in advance of the meeting. In order to keep down the volume of emails, if you do come up with a question that you would like to circulate, please email it to me, and I’ll send out all of the questions that I receive to this list the day before the meeting in a single email.


Published in: on January 27, 2011 at 10:38 am  Leave a Comment  

Holmes, “Path of the Law,” Thu., Jan. 20, 7:15 PM, Dodd Hall Rm. 399

The Los Angeles Legal Theory Reading Group will have its first meeting next Thursday, January 20, at 7:15 PM, Dodd Hall Room 399, UCLA. Dodd Hall is adjacent to the UCLA Law School; room 399 is in the northwest corner of the 3rd floor. Directions to Dodd and parking information are available here.

Meeting Agenda:

We’ll talk about logistics of the reading group and discuss Oliver Wendell Holmes’s Path of the Law, 10 Harv. L. Rev. 457 (1897), which is available online [HTML], in JSTOR, or in Hein. (If you want a PDF of the article and are unable to access it through JSTOR or Hein, let me know, and I can email it to you.)


If you are planning on coming to the January 20 meeting, please RSVP by the 19th, if possible. If you’d like to come but won’t know for sure until the last minute, that’s fine–just let me know so that I can arrange for food. (Also, please let me know of any dietary preferences or restrictions.)

If you aren’t able to make it to the meeting next week but have input on the group’s planning (e.g., what topics to focus on, when and where to hold regular meetings, how much reading to do, etc.), please let me know by email.

Communication and Emails:

I plan to send out one to two emails to the group’s email list per meeting (one announcing the reading and perhaps a reminder the day prior to the meeting). If you would like to be added to the email list, please contact me.

I will also try to post all relevant information to this website.


Published in: on January 11, 2011 at 7:05 am  Leave a Comment  

Announcing a New Reading Group

The Los Angeles Legal Theory Reading Group will meet regularly to discuss legal theory, broadly construed.

The group will begin meeting in January 2011. Tentatively, the theme for Spring 2011 is the history of American Legal Realism, but the theme is subject to change depending on participants’ interests.

The group will likely meet every other week for approximately two hours, with meetings held in evenings, over dinner. A day of the week and location for meetings will be determined once I know who is interested in participating.

If you are interested in joining, please contact Jonathan Gingerich.

– Jonathan, LALTRG Coordinator

Published in: on January 8, 2011 at 12:43 am  Leave a Comment