Article Title

The Rose Theorem?


Michael Heller


Law resists theorems. We have hypotheses, typologies, heuristics, and conundrums. But, until now, only one plausible theorem - and that we borrowed from economics. Could there be a second, the Rose Theorem?

Any theorem must generalize, be falsifiable, and have predictive power. Law's theorems, however, seem to require three additional qualities: they emerge from tales of ordinary stuff; are named for, not by, their creators; and have no single authoritative form. For example, Ronald Coase wrote of ranchers and farmers. He has always shied away from the Theorem project. When later scholars formalized his parable, they created multiple and inconsistent versions. Likewise, Carol Rose writes rich narratives of maypoles and foxes, rivers and roman roads. She offers a theory of human motivation and predictions about our behavior. And we may ask, though she might not, whether the rich alluvial mud of her scholarship crystallizes into a Rose Theorem.