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Post-Modernism and the Law

What's to like best about the law? Why, it's sheer liberation of intellect, and the complete absence of real and abiding epistemological problems.

I never set out to be a lawyer. In fact, I never set out to be much of anything at all. No one in my family had ever graduated high school, much less gone to college. Imagine my suprise when I scored a fellowship to study the history of political thought at Columbia. I fancied myself a moral or political philosopher, and spent years in New York as a graduate student, even teaching there for a few years.

But the acid of post-modernism burned me. No larger truths to convey? Then why convey that truth from a lectern? I became a journalist, and reported on what others were doing.

But life beckons and we are no better than our commitments. Bereft of a larger vision, I found, and find, liberation in counseling clients and fighting for their interests, however conceived.

So the best thing about the law? It is an interdisciplinary smorgasbord, a feast on all that has been written or thought or conceived -- all tools to be used in the combat we call trial. In the dark of night I dream my client's dreams; come morning I sing them to see whether they ring true to the ears of strangers.

The law liberates in a way philosophy cannot. It addresses real people at the level of real need. Without the law, I would be without moorings.

Even Chief Justice Burger knew the thrill of interdisciplinary meandering. Check out United States v. Ceccolini, 435 U.S. 268, 284 (1978) for a reference to Ludwig Wittgenstein's  Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus.

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