Document Type

Article

Comments

Trends in Theories About Law: Maintaining Observational Standpoint and Delimiting the Focus of Inquiry (with Harold D. Lasswell), 8 University of Toledo Law Review 1 (1976)

Abstract

In a previous study, suggesting criteria for a viable theory about law, we recommended that a distinction be taken between the standpoints of the scholarly observer (whose primary concern is for enlightenment) and authoritative decisionmakers and others (whose ultimate interest is in power, in the making of effective choices). This distinction we found important for assuring dependable, realistic and effective inquiry about law and for clarification of aggregate common interest. We recommended also the delimiting of a focus of inquiry adequately comprehensive and selective, spotlighting authoritative decision in its larger context, with a balanced emphasis upon perspectives (the subjectivities attending decision) and operations (the choices actually made and enforced), and with clarity in conceptions of both authority and control. By authority we referred to participation in decision in accordance with community expectation; by control we referred to effective participation in decision, whatever the community expectation and whatever the variables affecting choice. The purpose of the present inquiry is to note the convergence toward these recommended criteria of many different trends in thinking and practice in jurisprudence and allied disciplines.

Date of Authorship for this Version

1976

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