« Decentering centers (more on law school sustainability and costs savings) | Main | Build a better mousetrap . . . »

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Flanders and Posner on Stephen (and me)

In the latest issue of the Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law, Chad Flanders and Stephen with wigRichard Posner have written commentaries about the work of Sir James Fitzjames Stephen, which follow, to one extent or another, this piece of mine.  I've learned a lot from Judge Posner's earlier work on Stephen and from correspondence with him about some of Stephen's ideas.  The judge focuses on the importance of "force" in Stephen's conception of criminal law and punishment, something which I discuss in my piece as well.

As to Professor Flanders's piece, I should say first that I'm very grateful to him for taking the time to respond to my work at length; I am glad to have provoked this comment.  On the substance, we have, as will be plain for those who read the pieces, many disagreements, and I'm also grateful to have them spelled out as crisply and energetically as Chad does here.  But one area where I think we very much agree is this.  Theory is certainly not objectionable, provided that it is understood as the activity of giving organized thought to any issue.  Indeed, I think I can cheerfully agree with that view, and still maintain my claims about some of the deficiencies of punishment theory today, deficiencies which, Chad is quite right to point out, may not be unique to work in this area. 

But this is a blog post, and interested readers (all 2 of you) should take a look.  Here's something from Judge Posner's piece that might be useful as well: "I do think [Stephen] had a theory of criminal law and a philosophy of life, but he was not a systematic or disciplined thinker, and this allowed him to make observations that owe nothing to theory, that are simply shrewd and sensible[.]"

Posted by Marc DeGirolami on December 15, 2012 at 07:27 AM | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341c6a7953ef017c34a31b44970b

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Flanders and Posner on Stephen (and me):

Comments

I am sure there are more than two of us...

Thanks for posting these links! I look forward to the read.

Posted by: DHMCarver | Dec 17, 2012 11:05:21 AM

Post a comment