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May 17, 2007

Oxford publishes collection of Brian Leiter’s jurisprudential papers

Image of the book's cover

Oxford University Press recently published a collection of Professor Brian Leiter’s most important articles at the intersection of law and philosophy. Naturalizing Jurisprudence: Essays on American Legal Realism and Naturalism in Legal Philosophy has been released simultaneously in cloth and paperback editions, and includes slightly revised versions of nine articles published between 1997 and 2003, as well as a new introduction in which Leiter gives an overview of his work and two new postscripts responding to a variety of critics.

Jeremy Horder, Law Commissioner for England and Wales and Professor of Criminal Law at Oxford University, hails the book as “confirm[ing] Brian Leiter’s place in the front rank of legal theorists in the world today.”

Over the last decade, Leiter has set out a novel philosophical reinterpretation and defense of the jurisprudence of the American Legal Realists, including such seminal figures in American law as Karl Llewellyn, Jerome Frank, and Leon Green. The Realists had a tremendous influence on law and legal education, but have been, until Leiter’s work, neglected by legal philosophers. Leiter argues that we should read the Realists as “prescient philosophical naturalists,” that is, as thinkers who viewed jurisprudential questions as turning on empirical facts about how courts really behave. In addition, Leiter has become the leading proponent of a “naturalistic” turn in legal philosophy, arguing for the essential interconnection between philosophical and empirical questions about law and legal institutions.

Leiter joined the University of Texas Law faculty in 1995, where he now holds the Hines H. Baker and Thelma Kelley Baker Chair in Law, and serves as Professor of Philosophy and Director of UT’s Law & Philosophy Program, which is widely considered one of the nation’s best. He has been a visiting professor at Yale Law School and the University of Chicago Law School. He teaches courses and seminars in jurisprudence, moral and political philosophy, the law of evidence, and 19th-century German philosophy.

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Brian Leiter

Oxford University Press, Naturalizing Jurisprudence