Private law theorist — Richard A. Posner Essay Example

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Private law theorist

Preeminent academic judge and private law theorist Richard A. Posner in his systemic study of law conceives contends that there is an interdisciplinary approach in law and economics and in law and literature movements. The prolific and influential scholar offers three keys to his conception of contemporary legal thoughts; these are pragmatisms, economics, and liberalism. Posner, in his wisdom believes that a fusion of these three elements can significantly transform legal theory. This according to Posner can bring about respect for social science and facts and the belief in individualism coupled with a practical approach which could effectively make legal theory an instrument capable of causing an understanding and improvement in law as well as social institutions that can demonstrate the imperfection of existing legal thought and for replacing it with something that is more satisfactory (Posner, 56).

For Posner, economics is a fundamental instrumental science that involves man basing decisions on the that is will be incurred and the specific benefits that will be gotten from alternative courses of action. This is as opposed to any narrow and selfish interest like pecuniary maximization of wealth. In reference to liberalism Posner relates with the stand point espoused by John Stuart Mill that every person is entitled to maximum liberty at a personal and economic level, which should equally be consistent with the liberty that every other person in the society is entitled to (Posner, 108). In that regard, neither the government’s opinion nor that of the public should seek to repress behavior that is ‘self-regarding’ this is behavior that does not harm other people. Posner also espouses an instrumental and practical philosophical approach which seeks to identify what “really works” as opposed to what “really is.” He refers to this philosophy as pragmatism. According to Posner, pragmatism is a forward looking philosophy which values continuity with the past, but only when such continuity can help us cope with problems we are experiencing now and those that are to come. In that regard, when pragmatism is applied to law it would treat stare decisis not as a duty but as a policy, and as a general governing principle rather than a requirement.

Works Cited

Posner, Richard A. The economic analysis of law 8th Ed. New York, NY: Aspen Publishers, 2011.