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Judge Posner's comments on the genre of judicial biography amply display the virtues that sustain his position as one of our leading legal intellectuals. His observations are fearless and fresh. They recreate the subject at hand with a candor and an incisive originality that is nothing short of astonishing. Posner's conclusion that we ought to substitute "judicial studies" for "judicial biographies," is fascinating.' It will repay our closest attention. Posner casts his conclusion in the rough form of a "cost-benefit calculation." He recommends "alternative genres to biography" because, on the one hand, judicial biographies are "a particularly costly undertaking," and, on the other, such biographies can offer at best only an uncertain "contribution... to knowledge." To adequately analyze this argument, therefore, we must distinguish Posner's claims about the costs of judicial biographies from his claims concerning their potential benefits.
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