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Ideas matter. In the law, legal ideas not only store the Wisdom of the past, and help to constrain and legitimate today's decisions; they also help to shape the future course of legal evolution. Ideas are not, of course, the only factor that shapes the future of the law. Law is an open system that responds to both its own internal logic and to its external environment. But in periods when the external forces affecting the law are relatively constant, the logic of the ideas in the law is an important factor shaping the future course of legal development.

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