Gerald J. Postema

Rules, Reasons, and Judgment: Realist Challenges

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: American Legal Realism; Oliver Wendell Holmes; Judicial Reasoning; Legal Formalism.

The major contribution that American legal realism has made to jurisprudence lies in its endeavor to address certain fundamental challenges that no sound theory of legal reasoning can ignore. In keeping with Holmes's view that law grows in stages, this article will discuss three of those fundamental challenges arising out of the realist critiques of formalism: the generalization problem, the determination problem, and the relevance problem. American legal realism has stressed the need for jurisprudence to address these challenges, thus intensifying the effort to explain the judicial decision-making process, while encouraging American legal theory to adopt different approaches: descriptive and normative, conventional and radically critical.

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