Thursday, November 20, 2008

Beetles, Frogs, and Lawyers

I think and write a lot about models and their limits, and what is "Moneyball" or "Moneylaw" if not a model?

That's my lame connection to a piece I have just posted on SSRN, Beetles, Frogs, and Lawyers:  The Scientific Demarcation Problem in the Gilson Theory of Value Creation.  Here's the abstract:
Recently, Ronald Gilson described a transactional lawyer turned law professor as someone who was a beetle, but became an entomologist. This is not the first non-mammalian metaphor used by an economically inclined legal academic to demarcate those who study and those who are studied. As Richard Posner so colorfully explained rational actors as they appear to economists studying them objectively: "it would not be a solecism to speak of a rational frog." In this short essay, I suggest that both say something about the prevailing view of theorizing that is entitled to privileged epistemic status in the legal academy. I assess Professor Gilson's classic 1984 article on value creation by lawyers in terms of its implicit claims to (social) scientific truth.
Oh, and, by the way, for a view on Daniel Henninger's suggestion in the Wall Street Journal this morning that Southern evangelical approach to religion would be an effective ballast to over-reliance on credit risk models, click on over to Legal Profession Blog.


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