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Left Brain, Right Brain and History in the New Law and Economics of Property, 79 Oregon Law Rev. 479 (2000)


These two excellent papers reflect a kind of yin and yang of property: Michael Heller is in a quest to unlock the "left-brain" rational categories by which we organize our thinking about property; Peter Huang searches for the grounds of our deep "right-brain" emotional responses to property. Both papers are written in an analytic mode, and I have very little quarrel with either on that count. Following a few comments on the major points in each, however, I will argue that in the case of both left and right brain—rational categories and emotional response—the analytic power of the argument borrows from particular historical instantiations of property, and that these two excellent analyses might be deepened diachronically, taking into account the narrative context into which the analytic elements are embedded.

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