Sunday, February 17, 2013

The first time I read discusions of "comparative advantage" I thought immediately of the importance of redundancy for stable systems: efficient systems are fragile; stable systems have high levels of redundancy.

I thought these things were truisms. That's why I've had so much trouble (and this is going back years) following arguments predicated on thinking they weren't. [Taleb etc. here]

Economists and philosophers who defend efficiency defend it as a value system, a type of morality that they associate with science and engineering. But they're not engineers.

Writers of financial contracts are called Financial Engineers. And Joseph Yellow Kid Weil was a confidence engineer.

Leiter, in his post on Dworkin, includes among others a link to a symposium on one of Dworkin's papers [the link to the original paper is dead, but it's available here: pdf], and to his own "review essay" of recent books by and about Dworkin. The Theory of Esoteric Law for me puts the final nails in the coffin of every argument Leiter or Hart could make on the philosophy of law.  Dworkin's evasiveness is part and parcel of the general inability on the part of philosophers to admit to defending an idea to the extent of it being a form of ideological commitment, but besides that Dworkin's arguments describe pretty much the way things actually work. We create and defend narratives and try to find the "right" way to continue them. We try to justify those narratives and those decisions to those around us. Courts may invent new doctrines but the justification of those doctrines is always predicated on them being seen as the continuation of a tradition. They must be recognized, and recognition is a process of situating the unknown among the known. The focus is on continuity not change. Those who pretend that they themselves are not the product of culture will also pretend that their decisions are removed from it. Others will defend their cultural assumptions without being able or willing to articulate them. Scalia won't be remembered as he'd want to be and his desire, and the record of his social interactions, needs to be considered a part of the cultural and linguistic process of law.

Dworkin begins his response to Simon Blackburn by saying "Blackburn doesn't like lawyers…"
Hart was a barrister for 8 years but unlike Dworkin seems not to learned much from it.

"The argument with Balkin is whether we need to sacralize questions in order to avoid sacralizing things."

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