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How is it that people manage to live side by side without incessant "warre of every man against every man"?' Thomas Hobbes, who won fame for posing this question, concluded that the legal system—the rules and might of Leviathan—is the wellspring of social order. Most law professors implicitly propagate this Hobbesian view, perhaps because it lends significance to what they teach. Law-and-economics scholars have been particularly prone to assert the centrality of legal doctrine. There is an opposing intellectual tradition, however, that emphasizes that social order can emerge without law. Its core theorists have been empirical sociologists and anthropologists who study stateless societies. Within the legal academy the law professors associated with the law-and-society movement have been the prime skeptics of the importance of law.

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