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Philosophy of LawCollected Essays Volume IV$
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John Finnis

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199580088

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199580088.001.0001

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Critical Legal Studies

Critical Legal Studies

(p.299) 13 Critical Legal Studies
Philosophy of Law

John Finnis

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents a critical examination of Unger's seminal article and book The Critical Legal Studies Movement, and of its account of legal thought, tested against its account of certain ‘exemplary’ difficulties in the Anglo-American law of contract. Unger's account fundamentally misconstrues the ways of legal thought and hides its misunderstanding behind equivocations on ‘(in)determinate’ and ‘(un)justified’ and neglect of under-determination. Its triadic schemas are too complex and too simple to capture the problems with which any law of contract must grapple. Underlying the Movement is a poverty-stricken conception of the forms of human good and a scepticism resting on unsound arguments. The result is a threat to the vulnerable in society.

Keywords:   Unger, Critical Legal Studies Movement, contract law, indeterminacy, under-determination, forms of human good, scepticism

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