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Naturalizing JurisprudenceEssays on American Legal Realism and Naturalism in Legal Philosophy$
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Brian Leiter

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199206490

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199206490.001.0001

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Why Quine is not a Postmodernist *

Why Quine is not a Postmodernist *

(p.137) 5 Why Quine is not a Postmodernist*
Naturalizing Jurisprudence


Oxford University Press

Dennis Patterson's wide-ranging book Law and Truth has the great virtue of locating questions of legal theory within their broader (and rightful) philosophical context: that is, as special instances of more general problems in metaphysics and the philosophy of language. It also sets out a position in jurisprudence that has some undeniable attractions. This chapter focuses on Patterson's identification of the great American philosopher Willard van Orman Quine as a pivotal figure in the transition from ‘modernity’ to ‘postmodernity’. It argues that this characterization involves an important misunderstanding of Quine's thought. Both the ‘postmodernism’ of its most famous advocates (e.g., Derrida, Lyotard) and Patterson's ‘sanitized’ postmodernism have only a superficial affinity with the philosophy of Quine.

Keywords:   Dennis Patterson, Law and Truth, language philosophy, Quine, modernity, postmodernism

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