Law and the Limits of Reason

Overview

"Human rationality is limited by the processing capacity of the brain, by errors arising from cognitive heuristics, by the intrinsic costs of information, and sometimes by emotions. What are the consequences of limited reason for the legal system? In particular, what are the consequences for the allocation of lawmaking authority among judges, legislators, and administrative agencies or executive officials?" "Adrian Vermeule answers these questions in Law and the Limits of Reason, an interdisciplinary treatment of constitutional and institutional
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Overview

"Human rationality is limited by the processing capacity of the brain, by errors arising from cognitive heuristics, by the intrinsic costs of information, and sometimes by emotions. What are the consequences of limited reason for the legal system? In particular, what are the consequences for the allocation of lawmaking authority among judges, legislators, and administrative agencies or executive officials?" "Adrian Vermeule answers these questions in Law and the Limits of Reason, an interdisciplinary treatment of constitutional and institutional design, one which integrates legal theory, political theory, political science and economics. Vermeule examines the capacities of the courts and the legislative process when reason is limited, and shows that the socially desirable allocation of lawmaking authority will be far less court-centric than major strands of legal theory would have it be." Vermeule criticizes epistemic legalism. a body of theory stemming from Edmund Burke and Friedrich von Hayek, which argues that the limits of reason counsel in favor of judicial lawmaking in the style of the common law, even in constitutional matters. In place of epistemic legalism, Vermeule proposes and defends the concept of a codified constitution, a regime in which legislatures have the primary authority to develop constitutional law over time, through statutes and constitutional amendments.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195383768
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 12/23/2008
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Adrian Vermeule is the John H. Watson Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. Before joining the Harvard faculty, he previously taught at the University of Chicago Law School for seven years, where he was twice awarded with the Graduating Students' Award for Teaching Excellence. He also served as a clerk to Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia and Judge David Sentelle of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

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Table of Contents

Introduction The Limits of Reason in Legal Theory 1

1 Many-Minds Arguments 25

2 The Constitutional Common Law: Information Aggregation 57

3 The Constitutional Common Law: Evolution 97

4 Justices and Company 123

5 Unintended Consequences and Constitutional Amendments 163

Conclusion: The Codified Constitution 187

Acknowledgments 195

Index 197

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