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Part III - The Purely Legal Point of View

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 January 2021

Alexander Lian
Affiliation:
Alexander Lian
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Summary

Understanding the purely legal point of view – which Holmes ultimately personified as the“bad man” – depends on appreciating the temporal dimensions of existence. Working off James Willard Hurst’s Justice Holmes on Legal History, this part attempts to lay the basis for a three-dimensional view of law. Hurst’s ideas of sequence and context lead to a greater appreciation of law’s horizontal and vertical dimensions, and provide the basis for appreciating its depth and vitality. A three-dimensional view of law brings law to present purpose when tied to what Holmes called the law’s fundamental theorem: the philosophical idea that any possible conduct is either lawful or unlawful. From this starting point it might one day be possible to create a metric of the law, one that would materially expand the law’s capacity to be known.

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Stereoscopic Law
Oliver Wendell Holmes and Legal Education
, pp. 91 - 130
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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