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Book Review: Rediscovery of Justice, 38 California Law Review 351 (1951)


It is easy to guess why the editors of the California Law Review asked me to review this book. For the author has used materials which, for a different and much more restricted purpose, I used some twenty years ago in my book, Law and The Modern Mind. There I drew on some aspects of the writings of the child psychologist, Piaget, and of the Freudians, to support a partial explanation-–I listed fourteen others–of the unrealistic demand, by adults, for unattainable legal certainty. In brief, my partial explanation was that this demand in part derives from the carry-over into adult years of emotional attitudes of young children, engendered in the family. This demand, I suggested, when made by adults, signifies emotional immaturity partly caused by unduly prolonged emotional father-dependence. A mature society I envisioned as one in which such father-dependence would vanish after childhood. "Modern civilization," I wrote, "demands a mind free of father-governance. To remain father-governed in adult years is peculiarly the modem sin." We should end the "search for the father-judge," so that "the child indeed becomes father to the man, i.e., each individual becomes his own father and thus eliminates the need for fatherly authority." Holmes I described as the "completely adult jurist" who had "put away childish longings for a father-controlled world. . . . We might say that, being rid of the need of a strict father, he can afford not to use his authority as if he, himself, were a strict father." I should add that in that book I repeatedly warned that I considered psychology not a science but an art, still in its early youth, an art which utilized concepts most of which were "as ifs," with too little recognition by psychologists of that fact.

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