Hegel on legal history and legal philosophy v 2 · DRAFT 1 Hegel on Legal Philosophy and Legal...

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DRAFT 1 Hegel on Legal Philosophy and Legal History N.W. Sage The initial sections of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right contain a sustained invective against those who “obscur[e] the difference between the historical and the philosophical study of law.” 1 “To consider particular laws as they appear and develop in time is a purely historical task … appreciated and rewarded in its own sphere [but having] no relation whatsoever to the philosophical study of the subject.” 2 According to Hegel, legal philosophy and legal history must “preserve an attitude of mutual indifference.” 3 There can be no dialogue between them—neither field should purport to improve, or to challenge, the other. Why does Hegel insist upon this quarantine of legal philosophy from legal history? Answering that question may help to illuminate current controversies in common law scholarship, in which philosophically‐ and historically‐minded scholars accuse each other of methodological errors that, they contend, result from mistaking the proper boundaries between distinct spheres of legal thought. 4 Understanding Hegel’s argument requires us first to ascertain what he means by legal “philosophy” and by legal “history,” in order to see how he draws the boundaries between those fields, and therefore why he insists upon keeping them distinct. 5 For Hegel, legal philosophy endeavors to show the legal concepts that judges and lawyers apply, together with the results of the application of those concepts, to be rational. Opposed to legal philosophy is the positive * S.J.D. Candidate, University of Toronto, [email protected]. This is a work in progress at a very early stage, and I would greatly appreciate any comments. 1 G.W.F. HEGEL,PHILOSOPHY OF RIGHT § 3R (T.M. Knox trans., 1952) (1821). 2 Id. 3 Id. 4 See, for example, the controversy last decade over approaches to private law among Stephen Waddams, DIMENSIONS OF PRIVATE LAW:CATEGORIES AND CONCEPTS IN ANGLO‐AMERICAN LEGAL REASONING (2003); Stephen A. Smith, A Map of the Common Law? 40 CAN.BUS. L.J. 364 (2004); Stephen Waddams, Response, 40 CAN.BUS. L.J. 396 (2004); Allan Beever & Charles Rickett, Interpretive Legal Theory and the Academic Lawyer, 68 MOD. L. REV. 320 (2005); Steve Hedley, The Shock of the Old: Interpretivism in Obligations, in STRUCTURE AND JUSTIFICATION IN PRIVATE LAW (Charles Rickett & Ross Grantham eds., 2008). 5 Hegel generally discusses the philosophy of “right,” which for him extends beyond law to include, for example, the norms of family relations and civil society. However, this paper considers Hegel’s remarks only insofar as they apply to law.
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    HegelonLegalPhilosophyandLegalHistoryN.W.SageTheinitialsectionsofHegelsPhilosophyofRightcontainasustainedinvectiveagainstthosewhoobscur[e]thedifferencebetweenthehistoricalandthephilosophicalstudyoflaw.1Toconsiderparticularlawsastheyappearanddevelopintimeisapurelyhistoricaltaskappreciatedandrewardedinitsownsphere[buthaving]norelationwhatsoevertothephilosophicalstudyofthesubject.2AccordingtoHegel,legalphilosophyandlegalhistorymustpreserveanattitudeofmutualindifference.3Therecanbenodialoguebetweenthemneitherfieldshouldpurporttoimprove,ortochallenge,theother.

    WhydoesHegelinsistuponthisquarantineoflegalphilosophyfromlegalhistory?Answeringthatquestionmayhelptoilluminatecurrentcontroversiesincommonlawscholarship,inwhichphilosophicallyandhistoricallymindedscholarsaccuseeachotherofmethodologicalerrorsthat,theycontend,resultfrommistakingtheproperboundariesbetweendistinctspheresoflegalthought.4

    UnderstandingHegelsargumentrequiresusfirsttoascertainwhathemeansbylegalphilosophyandbylegalhistory,inordertoseehowhedrawstheboundariesbetweenthosefields,andthereforewhyheinsistsuponkeepingthemdistinct.5

    ForHegel,legalphilosophyendeavorstoshowthelegalconceptsthatjudgesandlawyersapply,togetherwiththeresultsoftheapplicationofthoseconcepts,toberational.Opposedtolegalphilosophyisthepositive*S.J.D.Candidate,UniversityofToronto,[email protected],andIwouldgreatlyappreciateanycomments.1G.W.F.HEGEL,PHILOSOPHYOFRIGHT3R(T.M.Knoxtrans.,1952)(1821).2Id.3Id.4See,forexample,thecontroversylastdecadeoverapproachestoprivatelawamongStephenWaddams,DIMENSIONSOFPRIVATELAW:CATEGORIESANDCONCEPTSINANGLOAMERICANLEGALREASONING(2003);StephenA.Smith,AMapoftheCommonLaw?40CAN.BUS.L.J.364(2004);StephenWaddams,Response,40CAN.BUS.L.J.396(2004);AllanBeever&CharlesRickett,InterpretiveLegalTheoryandtheAcademicLawyer,68MOD.L.REV.320(2005);SteveHedley,TheShockoftheOld:InterpretivisminObligations,inSTRUCTUREANDJUSTIFICATIONINPRIVATELAW(CharlesRickett&RossGranthameds.,2008).5Hegelgenerallydiscussesthephilosophyofright,whichforhimextendsbeyondlawtoinclude,forexample,thenormsoffamilyrelationsandcivilsociety.However,thispaperconsidersHegelsremarksonlyinsofarastheyapplytolaw.

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    studyoflaw:thestudyoflegalresultsorconceptswithoutregardfortheirrationalbasis.Oneformofpositivism,accordingtoHegel,islegalhistory.

    Becauselegalphilosophyisconcernedwithlawsrationality,andlegalhistorywiththelawshistoricalcausesirrespectiveoftheirrationality,thetwofieldsaremutuallyindifferent.Difficultiesarisewhenoneofthefieldsoverreaches:whenalegalhistorianpurportstoimproveortochallengethephilosophicalunderstandingofthelaw,orviceversa.ForHegelsuchoverreachingamountstoasortofcategorialerror,whichyieldsonlyobscurity.

    Yet,despitehisadmonitionsagainstmixinglegalphilosophyandhistory,Hegelalsoenvisageswhatwemaycallaphilosophicalhistoryofthelaw.Thisisastoryofthelawsdevelopmentthatendeavorstoshowthatprocesstoberational.(ThesortofteleologyforwhichHegelisnotorious.)Arguably,anexemplarofthissortofrationalreconstructionistraditionalcommonlawreasoning:themarshalingofprecedentsthatjudgesandlawyersundertakeinordertoestablishwhatthelawis.Hegelsworksuggestsnotonlythatthepursuitofaphilosophicalhistoryoflawislegitimate,butthatitmaybeobligatoryforthosewhoseekafullunderstandingofthelawsrationality.A.WhatisthePhilosophyofLaw?InhisEncyclopediaofthePhilosophicalSciences,Hegeldefinesphilosophyasthethinkingstudyofobjects.6IthasbeensaidthatHegelsbriefdefinitionsofphilosophyalongtheselinesare,asheadmits,usuallyunilluminating.7However,inthePrefaceandfirsttwoparagraphsofhisPhilosophyofRight,Hegelelaborateswhathemeansbythethinkingstudyofobjects,discussinginsomedetailbothwhattheobjectsoflegalphilosophyare,andwhatitmeanstothinkphilosophicallyaboutthem.

    i.TheObjectsofLegalPhilosophy:RealizedLegalConceptsTheobjectsofHegelsphilosophyoflawaretheconceptsthatare

    realizedinthepracticeoflaw:theconceptsendorsedandacteduponbyjudgesandlawyersintheirofficialcapacities,andwhicharethereforeaccessibletousbecauseoftheirpublicrecognitionandformulationin6G.W.F.HEGEL,ENCYCLOPEDIAOFTHEPHILOSOPHICALSCIENCESI2.7MICHAELINWOOD,AHEGELDICTIONARY220(1992).

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    thelawoftheland.8Wemightthinkhereofthevariousdoctrines,rules,principles,maxims,tests,andsoonspecifiedinthecommonlaw.

    Hegelsfocusonrealizedlegalconceptsmeansthatheisnotconcernedtounderstandconceptsmerelyinabstraction,butinconjunctionwiththeconcreteresultsoftheirapplication.Indeed,forHegel,legalconceptandresultareinseparable:thereisacompleteinterpenetrationbetweenthem.9Wecantrulyunderstandagivenlegalconceptonlybyconsideringthelegalresultsthatityields.10Conversely,alegalresultiscomprehensibleonlywhenviewedthroughthelensofsomelegalconcept.11Wemightsay,intodaysjargon,thatall(legal)dataistheoryladen:eventheinitialisolationandcharacterizationofagivenlegalresultisinfluencedbyourbackgroundconceptualassumptions.Or,toputitanotherway,thedescriptionsofalegalresultandoftheconceptthatyieldsthatresultarereallyjustthesamedescriptionstatedatdifferentlevelsofabstraction.

    WhyisitonlytherealizedlegalconcepttheunionofconceptandresultthatinterestsHegel?Thiscanbebrokenintotwoquestions.First,whynotstudylegalresults,independentlyofthelegalconceptswhoseapplicationjudgesandlawyersclaimyieldsthoseresults?Whynottakethesetoflegalresultsandthenanalyzethemusingother,nonlegalconcepts?Somethinglikethisapproachisinfactadoptedby,forexample,manyoftodayseconomicanalystsoflaw.Theytakeastheirdataasetoflegaloutcomes,andthenseektoevaluatetheefficiencyofthoseoutcomesusingsophisticatedeconomicconceptsthatareforeigntolegalanalysis.

    OneanswertothisquestionconnectswithHegelsthoughtthatthereisacompleteinterpenetrationbetweenlegalconceptandresult,theoryanddata.Thedatasetoflegalresultssay,forargumentssake,thesetofdecisionsdescribedinlawreportersisinitiallysalienttousbecauseitisasetofresultspickedoutbylegalconcepts.Theboundariesand8G.W.F.HEGEL,PHILOSOPHYOFRIGHT1(S.W.Dydetrans.1896)(ThephilosophicscienceofrighthasasitsobjecttheIdeaofright,i.e.,theconceptionofrightandtherealizationofthatconception.)Hegel,notoriously,isamonist,assumingthereisultimatelyasingleIdea,thoughitmaytakeavarietyofdifferentshapes.SeePreface;1R.Howeverthislanguageissoobscuretoourearsthatitispreferabletospeakofconceptsintheplural,whilebearinginmindthatHegelthinkstheseareultimatelyinsomesenseunitary.Seefurtherinfranote34.91A(Dyde,Knox).101R(Knox)(Theshapeswhichtheconceptassumesinthecourseofitsactualizationareindispensablefortheknowledgeoftheconceptitself.)11Id.(Allelse,apartfromthisactualityestablishedthroughtheworkingoftheconceptitself,isephemeral....)

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    natureofthesetitself(nottomentionthecharacterizationofeachresultwithintheset)arespecifiedbyconceptsoflegalauthority(suchasstaredecisis,ratiodecidendi,jurisdiction,andsoon)andsubstantivelegaldoctrine(forexample,thereporterwilldescribeonlycasesthatareimportanttoagivendoctrinalfield).Now,wecanofcourseapplynonlegalconcepts,suchastheconceptsofeconomicanalysis,toevaluatethesetoflegalresults.Butifwedo,wewillquicklyfindthatthesetofresultsthatthelegalconceptspickoutisbothnarrowerandbroaderthanthesetofresultsthatournonlegalconcernswouldnaturallyreach.12Forexample,theconceptsofclassicaleconomicanalysisrelatetoallinstancesofselfinterestedmaximizinghumanconduct,andnottootherformsofhumanconduct,irrespectiveofwhethertheconductisdescribedinlawreporters.Theconjunctionofonesetofconceptswiththesetofresultspickedoutbyanothersetofconceptsisthereforeintellectuallyarbitrary.AndforHegel,anygenuinefieldofintellectualinquirymustavoidsucharbitrarylimitationsonitsscope.Eachfieldmustpursueitssubjectmattersystematically.13

    Furthermore,ifouraimistoexplainouractuallegalpracticesandinstitutions,thenstudyinglegalresultsusingnonlegalconceptswillinevitablyproduceafailureofexplanation.Thisisbecause,totheextentoneseekstoexplainthelegalresultsusingconceptsotherthanthosethatjudgesandlawyersthemselvesusetoproducethoseresults,thenonefailstoexplainwhatthoselegalactorsareactuallydoing,oratleastwhattheypurporttobedoing.Legalactorsthemselvesinvokelegalconceptstoexplainthelegalresultsatwhichtheyarrive.Ifweuseother,nonlegalconceptstoexplainthelegalresults,thentheroleofthelegalconceptsthatjudgesandlawyersthemselvesusebecomesutterlymysterious.

    (Perhapsthelegalconceptsthatjudgesandlawyersthemselvesusecanbeexplainedawayasadelusion,orafraudadeceptionthattheytellthemselves,orothers,inordertoconcealthetruemotivationsforwhattheyaredoing.14However,evenifitisacceptabletoexplainawaylegalactorsconductasdelusionalorfraudulent,thisapproachneverthelessfailstoexplaintheconceptualcontentofthedelusionorfrauditself.Whythisdelusion,thisfraudasopposedtoothersthat

    12Cf.MICHAELOAKESHOTT,ONHUMANCONDUCT910(1975).13See,e.g.,INWOOD,supranote7,at26568(ScienceandSystem).HegelnotesinthePhilosophyofRightthatthatworkpresupposesanacquaintancewithgenuinelyscientificprocedure,assetoutinhisScienceofLogic.SeePreface,2R.14CompareJodyKraus,TransparencyandDeterminacyinCommonLawAdjudication:APhilosophicalDefenseofExplanatoryEconomicAnalysis,93VA.L.REV.287(2007).

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    mighthavebeenjustaseffective?15Thelegalconceptstheconceptsthatarepublicallyrecognizedandformulatedinthelawofthelandhereremainunexplained.)Second,thequestionofwhyitisonlyrealizedlegalconceptsthat

    interestHegelcanbeposedintheoppositeway:whynotinvestigateabstractconcepts,irrespectiveofwhethertheyarerealized,i.e.,haveyieldedconcreteresults?ForHegel,legalphilosophyisunconcernedwithconceptsthataremerefanciesorimaginings,whichareasyetunrealizedintheactualpracticeandinstitutionsofthelawsuchasthewishesofutopiansorpotentialmoralentrepreneurs,forexample.Butwhyshouldonenotphilosophizeabouttheproposalsofutopiansandwouldbereformers?

    Therearetwoanswerstothisquestion,eachasideofthesamecoin.Foronething,theneedtounderstandwhatsomepersonorgrouphappenstowishaboutthelawislesspressingthantheneedtounderstandthelawitself.Wearenotsubjecttootherpersonswhimsaboutwhatthelawoughttobe.Weare,however,subjecttothelaw.Thus,thereisademandtounderstandrealizedlegalconceptsthatdoesnotexistwithrespecttomerelegalwishes.

    Relatedly,thereisnoreasontoexpectpersonsmerewishesaboutthelawtobesusceptibleofunderstanding,becausethereisnoreasontoexpectmerewishestobecoherent.Ajudge,forexample,canwishfortheadoptionofwhateverlegalconceptshewants,regardlessofwhetherthatwishiscompatiblewithherotherlegalcommitmentswiththeensembleofrealizedlegalconceptsthatsheiswillingtoactupon.16Forexample,ajudgemaykeenlywishthatthatshedidnothavetoawarddamagesforabreachofcontractagainstanimpecuniousdefendant.However,thedisciplineofrealizingofalegalconceptinaconcreteresultforcesthejudgeshand,requiringhertoreconciletheconceptorresultforwhichshewisheswithotherlegalconceptstowhichsheiscommitted,modifyingorabandoninganyconceptstotheextenttheyaremutuallyincompatible.Forexample,thejudgewillnotrealizeherwishthattheimpecuniouscontractualdefendantbeleftunharmed,totheextentthatthatwishisincompatiblewiththeneedtocompensatetheplaintiffforhisloss.Becausetherealizationofaconcreteresultforcesoneshandinthisway,theensembleofonesrealizedconceptsmustbe15Cf.MichaelOakeshott,OnMisunderstandingHumanConduct,4POL.THEORY353,361(1976)(NietzschessyphiliscouldnotexplainZarathustra).16Cf.ARTHURRIPSTEIN,FORCEANDFREEDOM:KANTSLEGALANDPOLITICALPHILOSOPHY109(2009).

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    mutuallycoherent,inawaythatonesunrealizedconceptsneednotbe.(Hencelegalscholarsoftencontrasttheirintellectualenterprisetothatofmoralphilosophers,whoareblissfullyunconstrainedbyanyrequirementthattheyarticulateprinciplescapableofauthoritativelyresolvingconcretedisputes.)17

    ThatweshoulddemandandexpecttrueunderstandingonlyofrealizedlegalconceptsexplainsHegelsobsession,evidentatthebeginningofthePhilosophyofRightasinmuchofhisotherwork,withdistinguishinggenuinephilosophyfromtheRomantictendencytophilosophizebyarticulatingonesownpersonalsentimentsorwishes.18Suchwishesarenotproperobjectsofphilosophy.Hegelspointherewouldseemtoapplyequallytomuchcontemporarylegalscholarship.Consider,forexample,theinnovationsofcontemporaryeconomicanalystsofcontractlawwhosuggestthatthelawoughttoadopthithertounknownconceptionsofcontractualdamages,19orshouldimposecontractswithoutthepartiesconsent,20andsoon.

    Finally,itisworthnotingthatHegelalsocontraststhestudyofrealizedconceptswithanotherunphilosophicmethod,thatofproceedingbydefinition.21(HerewemightperhapsthinkoftheariddogmatismorformalismassociatedbyAmericanLegalRealistswiththeirpredecessorsinthelegalacademy.)22DefiningthelegalconceptsatissueattheoutsetoftheinquiryisproblematicforHegel.Forastart,thisapproachislikelytoleadtoadivergencebetweenonesdefinitionalconcepts,ontheonehand,andthelegalconceptsactuallyrealizedintheworld,ontheother.Inthisrespect,definitionalformalismwouldsufferfromthesamedefectasRomanticism.Hegel,however,ismoreconcernedwithanotherdangerofproceedingbydefinition:thatitwillyieldanunderstandingthatcomportswithreceivedopinionorcommonsenseaboutourconcepts,butwhichisnottrulyrational.23ThisconcernleadsustoHegelsideasabouttheconnectionbetweenphilosophyandrationality.

    17E.g.RICKBIGWOOD,EXPLOITATIVECONTRACTS78(2003).18Preface,2R. 19RichardCraswell,AgainstFullerandPerdue,U.CHI.L.REV.99(2000).20OmriBenShahar,ContractsWithoutConsent:ExploringaNewBasisForContractualLiability,152U.PA.L.REV.1829(2004).212R.22HegelprobablyhasinmindSpinozaandtheGermanrationalists.SeeINWOOD,supranote7,at7477.232R,215n.68(Knox).

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    ii.ThinkinginLegalPhilosophy:RevealingaRationalBasisAswehaveseen,tophilosophizeaboutlawistothinkaboutcertain

    objects:realizedlegalconcepts.Butwhatisthinkingherewhatistheactivityoflegalphilosophy?AnanswerappearsinthePhilosophyofRightsPreface,whereHegeldescribesthetaskoflegalphilosophyastomakeourrealizedlegalconceptsappearwellfoundedtountrammeledthinking.24This,heexplains,meanstobringouttheimplicitrationalityofthoseconcepts.25Thatis,tomaketheimplicitrationalityofourrealizedlegalconceptsexplicit.26

    What,then,isitforsomethingtobe,initially,implicitlyrational,andforthisrationalitythentobemadeexplicit?HereHegelanalogizesourrealizedlegalconceptstothenaturalworld.27Weassumethatthenaturalworldisgovernedbyvariouslawsphysical,biological,chemical,andsoonthatareintelligibletous.Inthiswaythenaturalworldcanbethoughtofasimplicitlyrational.Itawaitsthethinkerorscientistwhowillmakethatrationalityexplicit,bydiscoveringandarticulatingtheexplanationorlawthatmakesthenaturalphenomenonintelligible.Likewise,theHegelianlegalphilosophermustproceedonthebasisthattheconceptsrealizedinthelawareimplicitlyintelligiblethattheyaresusceptibleofunderstanding.Thephilosopherstaskistomakethisintelligibilityexplicitbyarticulatingtherationalbasisofthelegalconcepts.28(Inthisrespect,itisnotablethatHegelregardsphilosophyassiblingtotwootherhumanenterprises,religionandart,whichalsoseektorendertheworldintelligibletous,butinalessarticulateorexplicitmanner.)29

    Thereisasense,then,inwhichwecanregardHegelasasupremerationalist.30Hetakesnotonlythenaturalworld,butalsohumanconduct,includinglaw,tobeinherentlysusceptibleofunderstanding.Thisobviouslyrunscountertoourcontemporarytendencytoassumethat,whilenaturemayberationallyapprehended(ornot,dependingon

    24Preface(Knox)at3.25Preface(Dyde)atxii.26ThisisafavoritethemeofRobertBrandoms.E.g.MAKINGITEXPLICIT(1998).27Preface(Dyde)atxiii,(Knox)at4.28Wemustdeveloptheidea,whichisthereasonofanobject,outoftheconception.2(Dyde).29AscontendedinthePhenomenologyofSpiritVII.30Cf.LeoStrauss,LecturesonHegelsPhilosophyofHistory,Lecture1at1:27(Jan.5,1965),http://leostrausscenter.uchicago.edu/course/hegelphilosophyhistorywinterquarter1965(Hegelissurelythemostradicalrationalistthateverwas.)

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    whatonethinksofquantumphysics),humanpracticessuchaslawneednotbedeeplyintelligibleinthesameway.

    Ifphilosophizingismakingourrealizedconceptsimplicitrationalityexplicit,whatexactlyisrationality?Itistemptingtoavoidthistopicaltogether,sinceanythingsaidaboutitwillnecessarilybecrudeandinadequate.Butsomethingmustbesaid,giventhatthecentralityoftheideaofrationalitytoHegelsarguments,andinordertoavoidassociatingHegelwithviewsaboutrationalitytowhichhewouldobject.(Inparticular,anyformofmetaphysicalrealism.)

    Wecansaythat,forHegel,agivenlegalresultisrationalifitisyieldedbyalegalconceptthatisrational.Andagivenlegalconceptisrationalifitismutuallysupportedbyourotherlegalconcepts.Thatis,iftheconceptisrequiredby(isinferablefrom),andinturnrequires(yieldsbyinference)theotherlegalconceptsthatweendorse.31

    First,then,foragivenlegalresulttoberational,itmustflowfromtheapplicationofalegalconcept.Aconceptmustbethereasonfortheresult.32Totakeafacileexample,acourtmightholdathreeyearolddefendantnotliablefornegligencebecauseoftheconceptthatpersonsshouldnotbelegallyliableuntiltheyhavereachedatleasttheageofseven.Aresultsuchasthisthatflowsfromtheapplicationofalegalconceptcancontrastedwithanonrationalresult:onethatisnotexplicableinconceptualtermsbecauseithasanonconceptualcause.Thiswouldbethecase,forexample,ifthejudgedecidedtherewasnoliabilityjustbecauseofwhatshehadforbreakfast.

    Second,foragivenlegalconcepttoberational,itmustbeonethatstandsinarelationofmutualinferabilitywiththeotherlegalconceptsthatweendorse.Agivenconceptisobviouslyirrationalifitisincompatiblewithotherlegalconceptsthatweendorse:thesevenyearsoldbeforeliabilityrulecouldnotrationallystandtogetherwiththenotionthateveryoneisfullyresponsiblefortheirconductnomattertheirage.Incontrast,alegalconceptisrationalifitstandsinarelationofmutualsupportwiththeotherlegalconceptsthatweendorse:ifitisinferablefrom,andcanitselfbeusedtoinfer,thoseotherconceptualcommitments.Thesevenyearsoldbeforeliabilityrulemightstandina31See,e.g.,ROBERTB.BRANDOM,REASONINPHILOSOPHY:ANIMATINGIDEASch.44(2009).32Ofcourse,itmaybeobjectedthatlegalconceptsaretooindeterminatetoyieldconcreteresults.Thatobjectioncannotbeadequatelyaddressedhere,butseeBrandom,infranote71.

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    rationalrelationofthissorttotheconceptthatlegalresponsibilityrequiresacertainlevelofintellectualmaturity,andtheconceptthatthatstageofmaturityisreachedatageseven.

    Itmightbethoughtthatalegalconceptmayberational,evenifitdoesnotstandinanyrelationofmutualsupportwithourotherconcepts,solongasitisnotincompatiblewiththem.However,whilesuchaconceptwouldnotberationallynegated,itwouldberationallyinexplicable.Sinceitwouldbeunconnectedwithanyotherconceptthatweendorse,wewouldsimplyhavenobasisuponwhichtosaythatitisrational.Suchaconcept(ifitcouldbecalledaconcept)wouldhavenorationalsignificancewhatsoever.33

    BecauseHegelianrationalityinvolvesrevealinghoweachofourconceptsstandsinarelationofmutualsupportwithourotherconcepts,wearequicklypropelledtowardsasortofradicalconceptualholism.34Anencompassing,amorphousholismisavicewithwhichHegelisoftenassociated.However,ourexpectationsinthisrespectarelikelytobeupsettosomeextentbythePhilosophyofRight,becausethereHegelcautionsattheoutsetagainstatooquickpursuitofholisticexplanation.InthesecondparagraphofthePhilosophyofRight,Hegelsaysthattheorigin[s]oftheconceptsoflawfalloutsideofthephilosophyoflaw,andthatlegalphilosophymustpresupposeratherthanseektoprovethoseorigins.35

    Wemightunderstandthisremarkinthefollowingway.Eventually,giventheHegelianphilosopherstaskofpursuingtherationalconnectionsbetweenallofourconcepts,itwillbenecessarytoconsidertherelationsbetweenourlegalconceptsandnonlegalconceptsemployedinotherfieldsofknowledgesuchastheconceptsofethicsandmoralitygenerally,forexample.Butphilosophizingmuststartsomewhere:itmustbeginbyinvestigatingcertainconcepts,whileleavingotherspresupposed.Forexample,wemustbeabletobeginthephilosophyofreligionwithoutunderstandingthewholeoflogicorlinguistics.36

    33Seeid.34SeeRobertBrandom,HolismandIdealisminHegelsPhenomenology,inASPIRITOFTRUST(draft,forthcoming).Seealsosupranote8.352(Dyde).36Philosophyformsacircle.Ithas,sinceitmustsomehowmakeabeginning,aprimary,directlygivenmatter,whichisnotprovedandisnotaresult.2A(Dyde).

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    Thephilosopheroflawsstartingpointisourlegalconcepts.And,havingbegunatthatstartingpoint,thelegalphilosophercannotthenproceedbyrelatingthelegalconceptstootherconceptsthatshearbitrarilychoosesfromdifferentdomainsofhumanexperience.Thatwouldbejustlikethearbitraryconjunctionoflegalresultswithnonlegalconceptsthatwasrejectedabove.Genuineknowledgemust,forHegel,bepursuedsystematically.Ithastorespectandaccountfortherelationsbetweenconceptsthatourconceptsthemselvessuggest.Thus,itmustrespectandaccountforthewayinwhichdifferentkindsofconceptsaregroupedthewayinwhichtheyarerelatedtootherconceptsofthesamekindanddistinguishedfromdifferentkindsofconcepts.Thereforethephilosopherwhobeginswithlawmustfirstunderstandhowtheconceptsoflawrelatetoeachother,beforerelatingthemtoothernonlegalconcepts.

    Ofcoursethisispossibleonlyiflegalconceptsaretosomeextentdistinguishablefromnonlegalconcepts.Todaylegaltheoristsoftendenythis.Butawholesaledenialseemsimplausible.Wecanobservethatlegalreasoningatleastpurportstobe,tosomeextent,distinctfromotherformsofreasoning.Theconceptsthatlawyersdeploytoexplainlegalresultscomefromthelimiteddomainofthelaw:37theyare,forexample,conceptssuchasmensreaorstrictscrutinyorfairuse,andnotconceptssuchasentropyordialecticalmaterialismorNashequilibrium.B.ThePositiveAspectsofLaw

    AfterdescribingthenatureoflegalphilosophyinthefirsttwoparagraphsofthePhilosophyofRight,Hegelseemstochangetackabruptly.Inthethirdparagraph,hebeginstodiscussthewaysinwhichlawmaybepositive.Asweshallsee,itisintheRemarktothisthirdparagraphthatHegeldrawsthedistinctionwithwhichweareprimarilyconcerned,betweenlegalphilosophyandlegalhistory.

    Hegeltellsusthatlawmaybepositiveboth(a)initsformand(b)[in]content.38Thepositiveformoflawissomethingwithwhichwearetodayfamiliar,thankstocontemporarylegalpositivism.Hegeltellsusthatlawispositiveinformwhenithastheformofbeingvalidinaparticularstate.39Thus,whatHegelcallsformallegalpositivitycallstomindthecontemporarylegalpositivistssocalledsourcesthesis:the37FrederickSchauer,TheLimitedDomainoftheLaw,90VA.L.REV.1909(2004).383(Knox).393.

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    thesisthattheexistenceorvalidityofalawcanbedeterminedmerelybyreferencetothesourceofitspromulgation(suchasaparliamentaryenactmentorjudicialopinion,forexample).40

    However,Hegelsothervarietiesofpositivism,whichconcernthecontentofthelaw,arelikelylessfamiliartous.Hegelliststhreewaysinwhichlawacquiresapositivecontent:

    ()throughtheparticularnationalcharacterofapeople,itsstageofhistoricaldevelopment,andthewholecomplexofrelationsconnectedwiththenecessitiesofnature;()becauseasystemofpositivelawmustnecessarilyinvolvetheapplicationoftheuniversalconcepttotheparticular,externallygiven,characteristicsofobjectsandcases;()throughthefinallydetailedprovisionsrequisiteforactuallypronouncingjudgmentincourt.41

    Whatdoalloftheseversionsoflegalpositivityhaveincommon?ForHegel,thepositiveisanythingthatexists,irrespectiveofwhether

    itisrationalthatis,irrespectiveofwhetheritistheproductofsomeconceptthatweendorse.InHegelsmetaphoricallanguage,themerelypositiveisthatfromwhichthespirithasflown.42Thus,forexample,inhisearlyessay,OnthePositivityoftheChristianReligion,HegeldescribeshowtheoriginalteachingsofJesus,whichHegeltakestoberationalmoralprinciples,becameoverthecourseoftheensuingcenturieslargelypositiveastheywerecodifiedandglossedbytheCatholicChurch.

    Thus,wecanseewhatlegalpositivityisforHegel:legalconceptsandresultsthatarise,orareunderstood,independentlyofanyrationalbasis.Apositiveaccountoflawexplainsalegalresultorconceptashavingsomebasisotherthanitsinferencefromalegalconceptthatweendorse.OrasHegelputsit,suchanaccountexplainsthelawbasedonfactorsorcausesthatareexternaltothelawsrationality.

    NowwecanseewhatitisthatthedifferentvarietiesofHegelianpositivismhaveincommon.Regarding(a)lawspositiveformorsource,thisis,ascontemporarylegalpositivistsinsist,independentoforexternaltothelawssubstantiverationality.Hencetheothermajortenetofcontemporarylegalpositivism,thesocalledseparability

    40JOSEPHRAZ,THEAUTHORITYOFLAW4750(1979).413(Knox).42OntheRecentDomesticAffairsofWrtemberg,inHEGELSPOLITICALWRITINGS244(T.M.Knoxtrans.1964).

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    thesis:thethesisthatarulemaybelawevenifitisimmoralorunjustified.43

    Asto(b)thecontentofthelaw,thismayalsobepositive,orexternaltotherationalityofthelegalconceptsthatunderliethelaw.ToadaptananalogyofHegels,wemightsaythatrealizedlegalconceptsacquirepositivecontentinthesamewaythatonesindividualactions,astheyarerealizedintheworld,incorporateelementsthatwerenotfullyintended.Youmayintend,forexample,toburndownyourenemyshouse,butyoudonothaveanyintentionsabouttheparticularfibersofwoodthattheflameofyourmatchinitiallytouches,noraboutexactlyhowmuchofthehouseturnstoashes.Thosedetailsareinawaypartofyouraction,buttheyareexternaltoyourintentiontheconceptyouhaveofyouraction,oryouractionsrationalbasis.44

    HenceHegelsvarietiesofpositivelegalcontent.Takingtheseinreverseorder:()thedetailedprovisionsinthejudgmentofacourtaretosomeextentarbitraryvisvisthelegalconceptthatthecourtisapplying.Forexample,asHegelpointsoutinalaterpassage:

    Reasoncannotdetermine,norcanthe[legal]conceptprovideanyprinciplewhoseapplicationcoulddecidewhetherjusticerequiresforanoffence(i)acorporalpunishmentoffortylashesorthirtynine,or(ii)afineoffivedollarsorfourdollarsandninetythree,four,etc.,cents,or(iii)imprisonmentofayearorthreehundredandsixtyfour,three,etc.,days,orayearandone,two,orthreedays.45

    Suchmatters,sincetheyarebeyondrationaldetermination,arenottheprovenanceoflegalphilosophy.(InhisPreface,HegelmockshiscontemporaryFichtefordevelopinghispurportedlyphilosophicalanalysisofpassportregulationstosuchapitchofperfectionastorequiresuspectsnotmerelytosigntheirpassportsbuttohavetheirlikenessespaintedonthem.)46

    Likewise,()judgesarerequiredtoapplythegeneralconceptsoflawtotheparticularitiesofgivencasesparticularitieswhosesourceisthenatureofthenonlegalworld,andwhicharethereforeexternaltothelawsrationality.Thejudgemustsubsumetheparticularsofagivencaseundersomelegalconceptorother.Butwhetherornotanyparticular43H.L.A.HART,THECONCEPTOFLAW18586(1994).44E.g.132R;G.W.F.HEGEL,IntroductiontoTHEPHILOSOPHYOFHISTORYIII(2)(b).45214R(Knox).Eventhefactthatajudgecanorderonlyaroundnumber(andnot,say,39.5lashes)isexternaltothelegalconcept.Id.46Prefaceat11(Knox).

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    casefallsunderoneconcept,orunderanother,isnotalwaysdictatedbytheconceptsthemselves.Thus,forexample,Hegelnotesthatacourtmayhavetosettlewhetherornotaliteraryplagiarismshouldberegardedasatheft.47Analogizing(somewhatmisleadingly)thedistinctionbetweentheRomanDigestandPandects,Hegelimagineslegalconceptsasstatementsofgeneralprinciples,whoseparticularsubdivisionsandapplicationsmustbeworkedoutindetailbypositivelawyers.Again,thisissomethingwithwhichphilosophersshouldnotconcernthemselves.48

    Thelawalsoacquirespositivecontent()fromthreeotherrelatedfactors.Twoofthesearethenationalcharacterofthepeopletowhom[thelaw]appliesandthevariousrelationsconnectedwiththenecessitiesofnature.Herewecanthinkoffactorssuchastheculturaltraditionsofapeople,andacountrysclimateandthefertilityofitssoil,whichHegel,followingMontesquieu,believedmayinfluenceitslaws.49Andfinally,anationslawacquirespositivecontentbecauseitisinformedbythenationsstageofhistoricaldevelopment.Thisbringsustolegalhistory.C.WhatisLegalHistory?

    Havingsetoutthevariouskindsoflegalpositivity,Hegelembarksuponwhatcanonlybedescribedasadiatribe,againstthosewhoobscuretheboundarybetweenlegalhistoryandlegalphilosophy.50ItisherethatHegeldevelopshisclaimthatthesetwofieldsaremutuallyindifferentandmustremainso,ratherthanpurportingtoinformeachother.

    Thenatureoflegalhistoryisbynowclear.Anhistoricallegalexplanationwhichisonekindofpositiveexplanationexplainsagivenlegalresultorconceptindependentlyofanyrationalbasisitmayhave.Thus,anhistoricalexplanationmayshowagivenlegalresultorconcepttohavebeeninferredfromsomeotherconceptthatwedonottodayendorse.Oritmayshowthelegalresultorconcepttobetheproductofanhistoricalcausethatisnonconceptualinnaturefor

    47CompareKnoxn.10,citingHegelshandwrittenmarginalnotes.483R&n.12(Knox).49Knoxn.9,citingHEGEL,PHILOSOPHYOFHISTORY,supranote44.Seealso3R&n.13(Knox),citingMONTESQUIEU,THESPIRITOFTHELAWSI.3(1748).503R.HegelhasinmindcertainacademiccolleagueswhosubscribedtothehistoricalschoolofjurisprudenceassociatedwithSavigny.Knox3Rn.17.

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    example,whatacertainjudgehappenedtohaveforbreakfastsometimeinthepast.

    Iflegalphilosophyisconcernedwithlawsrationality,andlegalhistorywithitshistoricalcausesregardlessofwhethertheyarerational,thetwofieldsmustbemutuallyindifferenttoeachother.Andwheneitherlegalphilosophyorlegalhistoryoverreachesattemptingtochallengeorimprovetheotherfieldobscurityensues.

    Legalphilosophycanneitherchallengenorimprovelegalhistory.Cannotchallenge,becauseevenifwetodayregardalawashavingarationalbasis,flowingfromconceptsthatwenowendorse,legalhistorycanshowthatasanhistoricalmatterthatsamelawcametobeonthebooksduetononrationalcausessuchaspurehappenstanceorlegalactorsselfinterest,forexample.Legalphilosophycannotimprovelegalhistory,because,astodaysacademichistoriansareacutelyaware,towriteourpresentdayrationalinsightsintothehistoricalrecordistocommitthesinofpresentism,obscuringthetruehistoricalcausesandmotivationsofactionsandevents.

    Hegel,ofcourse,ismoreconcernedtomaketheoppositepoint:thatlegalhistorycannotchallengeorimprovelegalphilosophy.Cannotchallenge,becauselegalphilosophycanshowthelawtoberationaltoberequiredbyourpresentconceptualcommitmentsregardlessofwhether,historically,itwastheproductofothernonrationalcauses.Ifwehavearationalbasisnowforagivenlegalruleorinstitution,itisirrelevantthatitalsohasnonrationalcausesthatledtoitsadoption.

    Forexample,virtuallyeverymodernnationstatewasfoundedatleastinpartasaresultofactionsandprinciplesthatwetodayregardasevil.Indeed,thehistoryofalmostanystateisoneofsuccessiveepisodesofhypocrisy,perfidy,andbrutalitybythepersonsandgroupswhomadethatstatewhatitistoday.Nevertheless,wemayrationallyendorsethestateweliveintoday,ifwebelievethatitrealizesconcepts(oratleastendeavorstorealizeconcepts)towhichwearenowcommitted.51

    Indeed,anargumentthatseekstochallengetherationalityofaconceptbasedonthewayinwhichthatconcepthistoricallycametobeadoptedcommitswhatlogicianscallthegeneticfallacy.Thefactthatsomeonehasarrivedatabeliefastheresultofafaultyreasoningprocessdoesnotentailthattheirbeliefisfalse.(Forexample,justbecauseJohn51Cf.IMMANUELKANT,THEMETAPHYSICSOFMORALS[6:318](MaryJ.Gregored.&trans.,1996)(179798).

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    StuartMillmighthavearrivedatabeliefintheequalityofallhumanbeingsbecausehisfatherpressuredhimintoit,doesnotmeanthatthebeliefisfalse.)52

    Norcanlegalhistoryimprovelegalphilosophy.Ifwedemonstratealawtoberational,thenportrayingthemannerof[its]appearanceinhistory,alongwiththecircumstances,cases,wantsandeventsthatledtoitaddsnothingtotheassessmentofitsrationality.53Andthisistrueevenifthelawappearedastheproductofaconceptthateveryoneinthepastendorsed.Becausetotheextentthatconceptismerelyhistorical,ratherthanendorsedinthepresent,itsrationalityhasnowexpired.(Thespirithasflown.)

    So,forexample,HegelsuggeststhatmanyaspectsofRomanprivatelawfollowinferentiallyfromtheconceptsofpatriapotestasandtraditionalRomanmatrimony.However,sincethoseconceptsarerepugnanttoustoday,wecannotendorseanyaspectsofprivatelawthatpurporttoderivetheirrationalbasisfromthem.54Likewise,monasteriesorcloistersmayoncehavebeenjustifiedonthebasisthattheypromotelearning.Hegelbelievedthatbyhistime,thatjustificationwasobsolete.(Presumablytheuniversityhadcometoperformthisfunction.)Therefore,Hegelpointsout,sincecircumstanceshavenowentirelyaltered,themonasteriesareinthisrespectatleastsuperfluousandinappropriate.55

    Indeed,Hegelnotesthatwhenhistorianspurporttoimprovelegalphilosophyusinghistoricalexplanations,theyunconsciouslyachievetheveryoppositeofwhattheyintend.56Byshiftingbetweentwofieldsthathavenothingtocontributetoeachother,thehistoriancommitsacategorialerror,andasaresultonlyobscuresthelawsrationality,ratherthanelucidatingit.FollowingMichaelOakeshott,wecancomparethiskindofcategorialerrortoanothertraditionallogicalfallacy,ignoratioelenchiorignoringtheissue.57Thisoccurswhen,forexample,someonemisunderstandsanargument,andthenemploysthatmisunderstandinginrespondingtotheargument.(Asin,Themanwho

    52JAMESDCARNEY&RICHARDKSCHEER,FUNDAMENTALSOFLOGICch.2(1964).533R(Dyde).543R.Infact,Hegelsuggests,manyaspectsofRomanprivatelawwerenotrationalinRomantimeseither.553R(Knox).56Id.57MICHAELOAKESHOTT,EXPERIENCEANDITSMODES(1933).

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    saidMiraclesdonthappenisblind.Whataboutpenicillin?).58Becausethetwoargumentsareirrelevanttoeachother,theirconjunctioncanyieldonlyconfusion.Thisisexactlywhathappens,accordingtoHegel,whenonetriestoconjoinargumentsfromthedistinctfieldsoflegalhistoryandlegalphilosophy.

    ThereareofcourseanumberofpossibleobjectionsthatmightberaisedagainstHegelsdemandforthisstrictseparationoflegalhistoryfromlegalphilosophy.Letusconsiderthreeprominentones.First,couldaconservativeapproachtolawnotrenderlegalhistory

    relevanttolegalphilosophy?Aconservativemightcontendthatweshouldapproachthelawtodaybycontinuingtoendorsethelegalconceptsandresultsthatourforebearsarrivedatnomattertheirreasonsorcauses.

    Suchanapproachwouldindeedmakelegalhistoryrelevanttolegalphilosophy.However,itwoulddosoonlybyadoptingapresentdayconcept,theguidingprincipleofconservatism(orsomesimilarprincipleofepistemologicalorpracticalcaution),whichhastheeffectofincorporatingthelawshistoryintothedomainofpresentdayrationality.Itisonlythispresentdayprinciplethatsuppliesthelawsrationalitywithoutit,thereisnoreasonwhatsoevertothinkthat,merelybecauseourforebearsarrivedatagivenlegalconceptorresult,weshouldendorsethatconceptorresultasrational.Second,mightlegalphilosophersnotlearnfromthehistoryoflaw,and

    viceversa?Thesuggestionhereisthatscholarsineachfieldmightusetheotherfieldinstrumentally,asameanstothediscoveryoftruthsintheirownfield.Andthereissurelysomethingtobesaidfortheideathathistoryandphilosophycanspurnewlinesofthinkingineachother.

    Forexample,understandingwhylawyersinthepasttookcertainlegalconceptstobejustifiedmaysuggestreasonswhylegalphilosopherstodayshoulddothesame.Ourenthusiasmforthismethodshould,however,bediminishedsomewhatwhenweconsiderotherpossiblesourcesofgoodideasforlegalphilosophy:forexample,bookspickeduprandomlywhilewalkingthroughalibrary,dreams,ortheravingsoflunatics.Thosesourcesmaylikewisebeusedinstrumentally,toinspirephilosophicalideas,thoughtherationalityofthoseideasisfarfromguaranteed.Itisthesamewithlegalhistory.Ofcoursehistoryisprobablyamorereliablesourceofgoodideasforunderstandingthe58CARNEY&SCHEER,supranote52.

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    rationalityofourconceptsthan,say,dreams.Buthistorysreliabilityinthisrespectshouldnotbeoverstated.Hegelhimselfclaimedthattheonlythingwelearnfromhistoryisthatpeopleneverlearnfromhistory:becauseourpresentcircumstancesareneverthesameasthehistoricalones,wecannotderivelessonsofrealvalue.59Likewise,todayshistoriansstresshowdangerousitistousehistorytoattemptunderstandthepresent,asitwillleadtoapresentistreadingofthepast,whichitselfobscuresanyvaluabletruthsthathistorymightotherwisehavecontained.60Andthesameisofcoursetrueofattemptstousenewlymintedphilosophicalinsightsinordertounderstandwhatactuallyhappenedasanhistoricalmatter.

    Insum,then,itisconceivablethatlegalphilosophyandlegalhistorymaylearnfromeachother,butonlyifeachfieldishighlycautiousandselective.Eachmusttreattheinsightsoftheotherfieldinmuchthesamewayaswewouldtreataninsightyieldedbyadreamnevertakingitatfacevalue,butrathersubjectingittothefullrigorsoftheapplicablediscipline.Third,whataboutthecurrentlyfashionablemethodofgenealogy?

    ThetermcomesfromNietzschesGenealogyofMorals,whichsoughttounderminetheconventionalviewthatourmoralityisagoodthingbysketchingahistoryinwhichmoralconceptsdevelopedoutofrivalsocialfactionsattemptstodominateeachother.(TheancientGreekrulingclassdefineditselfasgood,aJudeoChristianunderclasswrestedpowerbyredefininggoodintermsofitsownslavemorality,andsoon.)61FoucaultcommendedthisapproachinhisNietzsche,Genealogy,History.Helikewisesoughttodisruptreceivedwisdomaboutoursocialinstitutions,byshowingthemtobetheproductofhistoricalaccidentsarisingoutofacontinualstruggleforpower.62

    Thus,thebasicmethodofanhistoricalgenealogyistodiscreditexistingconceptsbyshowingthemtohaveignobleorigins.Moretechnically,wecansaythatagenealogyshowsagivenconceptorresultthatwenowendorsetobetheproductofsomeconcept,orother

    59HEGEL,PHILOSOPHYOFHISTORY,supranote44,atII8(onPragmaticHistory).60SeeHERBERTBUTTERFIELD,THEWHIGINTERPRETATIONOFHISTORYIII,VI(1931).61FRIEDRICHNIETZSCHE,THEGENEALOGYOFMORALS(HoraceB.Samueltrans.,1913).62MichelFoucault,Nietzsche,Genealogy,History,inTHEFOUCAULTREADER(PaulRabinowed.,1984).

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    cause,thatisnotinferentiallyrelatabletoi.e.,thatcannotprovideareasonforustoendorse.63

    ForHegel,agenealogicalattempttounderminetherationalityofthelawwouldbemisguided.Itdoesnotmatterifsomelawnowonthebookswas,historically,entirelycausedby,forexample,theselfinterestedpowerplaysofvarioushistoricalactorsorgroups.Ifthereisapresentrationalbasisforthelaw,thatcannotbeimpugnedbylegalhistory.

    BrianLeiter,inhispaperTheHermeneuticsofSuspicion,presentsapossiblechallengetothiswayofthinkingaboutgenealogy.64Hearguesthatagenealogymaygeneratereasontosuspectthetruthofagivenpersonorgroupsbelief,byshowingthatbelieftohaveacausaletiologythatisunrelatedtothetruthofthebelief.Leitercontends:

    Tobesure,beliefswiththewrongcausaletiologymightbetrue;butwehavenoreasontopresumethattobethecase.Tothecontrary,wenowhavereasontobesuspiciousnothingmoreoftheirveritisticproperties.65

    Thus,touseanexampleofLeiters,wewouldhavereasontosuspectthetruthofPresidentGeorgeW.BushsclaimthatSaddamHusseinposedathreattotheU.S.,ifweknewthatwhatcausedBushtoholdthatbeliefishisknowledgethatitwouldbeintheinterestsoftheU.S.rulingclassestohavemorereliablecontroloverlargeMiddleEastoilreserves.66

    However,forourpurposesitisimportanttoclarifypreciselyhowthesuspicionisgeneratedhere.Inonesense,asuccessfulgenealogydoesmorethanmerelycauseustosuspect.Rather,itcompletelyrebutstheassumptionthattheactualhistoricaldevelopmentofthebelieforconceptinquestionwasrational.AsLeitersays,onceweareawareofthegenealogicalaccount,wehavenoreasontopresumethatthehistoricalbasisfortheadoptionofthebeliefcoincidedwitharationalbasisforthatbelief.Forexample,onceweknowGeorgeW.Bushsactual,historicalreasonfortakingSaddamtobeathreat,werealizethatBusharrivedathisbeliefwithoutanyrationalbasiswhatsoever.Likewise,agenealogyofalegalconceptcouldeffectivelyrebutthenaveassumptionthattheactualhistoricaldevelopmentofthatconceptwasrational.63RobertBrandom,FromIronytoTrust:ModernityandBeyond,inASPIRITOFTRUST134(draft,forthcoming).64BrianLeiter,TheHermeneuticsofSuspicion:RecoveringMarx,Nietzsche,andFreud,inTHEFUTUREFORPHILOSOPHY19194(BrianLeitered.,2004).65Id.at19293.66Id.at193.

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    Atthesametime,agenealogyisunableinanywaytoimpugnapresentrationalbasisforabelieforconcept.Ifabelieforconcepthasapresentrationalbasisandnoclaimismadethatthisrationalbasiscoincideswiththehistoricaldevelopmentofthebelieforconceptagenealogyhasnobite.67Forexample,ifwehadsomerationalgroundforbelievingthatSaddamdidposeathreattotheU.S.,itwouldbeirrelevanttothetruthofthatbeliefthatGeorgeW.Bushhappenedtoarriveatitonanirrationalbasis.

    Insum,genealogicalaccountsmaygiveusreasontosuspecttherationalityofaconceptonlyinsofarastheyrebuttheassumptionthattheactualhistoricaldevelopmentoftheconceptwasrational.Theyarepowerlessinthefaceofavalidunderstandingoftheconceptsrationality.D.APhilosophicalHistoryofLaw?

    Althoughhedemandstheseparationofordinarylegalhistoryfromlegalphilosophy,inhisremarksfollowingthethirdparagraphofthePhilosophyofRight,Hegelalsoenvisageswhatwemaycallaphilosophicalhistoryofthelaw.

    Hegelmentionsinpassingthatanhistoricalaccountofourlegalconceptsmaybeusefultothephilosopher,

    insofarasthedevelopmentoutofhistoricgroundscoincideswiththedevelopmentoftheconception,andthehistoricalexpositionandjustificationcanbemadetocoverajustificationwhichisvalidinitselfandindependently.68

    Hegelhereseemstohaveinmindasituationwherethehistoricaldevelopmentofaconceptechoesthesequenceofthoughtsthroughwhichwe,today,cancometounderstandtherationalbasisofthatconcept.Herewemightthink,forexample,ofnegligencelaw,whichmaybetaughtbydescribingitsdevelopmentinthetwentiethcenturythroughaseriesofcourtdecisionsthatprogressivelyelucidatedthevarious

    67ThesamepointcanbemadeinthecontextoftheGettierproblemsthatLeiterdiscusses.Cf.RobertB.Brandom,WhyTruthisNotImportantinPhilosophy,inREASONINPHILOSOPHY:ANIMATINGIDEASch.6(2009).683R(Dyde).

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    componentsofthecauseofaction.69Thehistoricalnarrativeheremighthappentocoincidewithaphilosophicalunderstanding.

    Butwhataboutwheretherationalunderstandingofagivenlegalconceptdoesnotcoincidewiththehistoricalrecordwhere,asahistoricalmatter,nonrationalfactorscontributedtotheconceptsadoption?Mightitneverthelessbepossibleordesirableforphilosopherstopursueaphilosophicalhistoryhere?HegeldoesnotexpresslyaddressthisintheopeningparagraphsofthePhilosophyofRight.However,elsewhereheis,notoriously,concernedtoconstructphilosophicalhistoriesorteleologicalaccountsofourconceptsmostfamously,portrayingtheentirecourseofworldhistoryasnothingotherthanthemarchofconsciousnesstowardsfreedom.70

    ThissortofphilosophicalhistoryisacceptabletoHegel,notwithstandinghisadmonitionsagainstmixingordinaryhistoryandphilosophy,becauseaphilosophicalhistorydoesnotpurporttoalterourunderstandingofwhatactuallyhappenedhistorically.Whereasanordinaryhistorytracestheactualdevelopmentofourconceptsandresults,whichareoftentheproductofnonrationalcauses,aphilosophicalhistoryisconcernedonlywithportrayingtheprocessofthelawsdevelopmentasrational.Itundertakesarationalreconstructionoftheprocessofdevelopment,inordertodepictthegradualevolutionoftheconceptsthatweendorsetoday.(WhattodayshistoriansmightcallaWhighistoryofourconcepts.)71Ofcourse,asamatteroffact,variousnonrationalcausesmayhaveledtotheadoptionofourcurrentconcepts,butaphilosophicalhistorytreatsthosenonrationalelementsasmereaccidentaldetails,whichdonotunderminetheoverallstoryofrationaldevelopment.Itdoesnotmatterthatagivenstepintheevolutionofaconceptwascaused,forexample,byanhistoricalactorsvenality,solongasthatstepwasalsorationallydemanded.

    Arguably,aparadigmofthissortofrationalreconstructionofthehistoryofourconcepts,orphilosophicalhistory,istraditionalcommonlawreasoning.Ajudgeorlawyer,marshalingprecedentsinordertoreachaconclusionaboutwhatthelawis,willoftenportraythecaselawashavinggraduallyprogressedtowardsthelegalconceptorresultthat69Forexample,fromDonoghuev.Stevenson,[1932]A.C.562(H.L.)(dutyofcare),toTheWagonMound(No.1),[1961]A.C.388(P.C.)(remotenessofdamage),throughTheWagonMound(No.2),[1967]1A.C.617(P.C.)(standardofcare).7034160;HEGEL,PHILOSOPHYOFHISTORY,supranote44.71RobertB.Brandom,History,Reason,andReality,inREASONINPHILOSOPHY,supranote67,atIII.5.

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    shebelievesoughttobereachedinthepresentcase.Shewillpickoutofthecaselawacontinuousthreadleadingtothedesiredconceptorresult,andwilldisregardotherthreadsthatcouldalsobefoundinthedecidedcases.Shewillalsodisregardanynonrationalcausesofthedesiredconceptorresult,suchaserroneousorevenbiasedjudicialreasoninginthepreviouscases.

    Thisrationalreconstructionofthedevelopmentofthelawisafamiliarfeatureofcommonlawmethod.WhenSirEdwardCokesoughttoprovethatthecommonlawisrational,hepointedoutthataninfinitenumberofgraveandlearnedmenhadfinedandrefineditoverthecenturies.72AsimilarideaunderliesRonaldDworkinsmetaphorofthejudicialchainnovel,inwhicheachsuccessivejudgeseekstointerpretanddevelopthelawinthebestwaypossible,asifhewerewritingachainnovelslatestchapter.73Toconceiveofthecommonlawascontinuallyrefinedinthisfashionistounderstanditasaprogressivelyrationalprocess.

    Manylegalacademicstoday,whoseethemselvesasinheritorsofthehardheadedLegalRealisttradition,mightbeinclinedtocondescendtothisapproach,regardingitasthetellingoflegalfairytales.ButcompellingreasontoreconsideranysuchcondescensioncanbefoundintherecentworkoftheHegelianphilosopherRobertBrandom.Brandomsuggeststhatthemethodofrationalreconstructionorphilosophicalhistory,isanessentialfeatureofhumanreasoning,notjustinthecommonlaw,butinanyfieldofintellectualinquiry.74Indeed,forBrandom,traditionalcommonlawreasoningisjustaparticularlyexplicitorwellarticulatedversionofamethodthathumansdeploywhenevertheydeveloptheirunderstandingofanything.

    Consider,forexample,acaricatureoftheevolutionofourconceptofthesun.Atonepoint,perhapsfortheancientEgyptians,thesunwasagod.Next,forsomeoftheGreeks,itwasaluminousdisctravellingthroughthesky,revolvingaroundtheearth.Then,inearlymodernEurope,itbecameaballofhotmetal,remainingstillwhiletheearthrevolvedaroundit.Forustoday,thesunisastarlikemanyothersinour72CO.LITT.97b.73LAWSEMPIRE22838(1986);RobertBrandom,AHegelianModelofLegalConceptDetermination:TheNormativeFineStructureoftheJudgesChainNovel(paperpresentedtotheInlandNorthwestPhilosophyConference,Mar.23,2012).74Hegelhimselftendedtoimpugntherationalityofthecommonlaw(see,e.g.,211R)andEnglishlawingeneral(seeTheEnglishReformBill,inHEGELSPOLITICALWRITINGS,supranote42).

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    galaxy,whichradiatestheenergygivenoffbymassivethermonuclearreactions.

    We,endorsingthelatterconceptionofthesun,takeourconceptiontobe(themost)trueorrational,andourpredecessorsconceptionstobegreatlyflawedbutprogressivelyimprovedapproximationsofthetruth.Importantly,intakingthisapproach,weassumethatthereisasingleobject,thesun,towhichallofthevariousconceptionsrefer.Wedonotjustsaythathumanshavethoughtindifferentwaysatdifferenttimesaboutvariousthingsthatappearedtothemintheskyduringtheday.

    AccordingtoBrandom,thispositingofasingleobjectunderlyingallofthechangingconceptionsofitwhichisaninvariablefeatureofintellectualinquiryinanyprogressivedisciplineisasignthatweareundertakingarationalreconstructionofthehistoryofourconceptions.Thepositingofasingleobjectunderlyingthedifferentconceptionsofitallowsus(a)totakeourpresentconceptiontobethe(most)rationalone,(b)toacknowledgethatourpredecessors,althoughtheyalsoendeavoredtoberational,haddifferentconceptions,and(c)toseearationalprogressionfromourpredecessorsconceptionstoourown.Incontrast,ifwehadnoneedof(a)(c)iftherewasnodemandtoportraythedevelopmentofourunderstandingasrationalwecouldbecontenttodiscardtheassumptionthatweandourpredecessorshavebeenattemptingtounderstandtheverysameobject.

    Inthisrespectwemaycomparethewaythatacommonlawyerorjudgeclaimstogleanwhatthelawisfrompreviouscases,extractingacontinuousthreadofconceptualdevelopmentoutofaseriesofdecisionsthatoccurredovercenturies.Whereasiftherewerenoneedtounderstandthedevelopmentofthelawasrational,commonlawyerscouldbecontenttoregardthepreviouscasesnotasaprogressiveilluminationofasingleruleorprinciple,butasjustasuccessionofdifferentopinionsaboutwhatoughttobedone.

    IfBrandomisrightthatthemethodofrationalreconstructionorphilosophicalhistoryisnotapeculiarityofthecommonlawbutafeatureofrationalityingeneral,thenweoughttotakethismethodseriouslyinlegalphilosophy.Indeed,thislineofthoughtsuggeststhatadedicatedHegelianlegalphilosopheroughttoregardthepursuitofaphilosophicalhistoryasobligatory.

    Theendeavortorevealtherationalbasisofourpresenttimesliceofthelawisfinesofarasitgoes:ifsuccessful,itdemonstratesthatour

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    presentlegalconceptsarerational.Indeedthecommonlawoftenproceedsinthisway:alawyerorjudgeaddressestherationalityoftheensembleofapplicableprecedentsastheystandtoday,ignoringtheirhistoricalsequence.(Thisisthebasicmethodofcaselawsynthesistaughtinlawschoollegalreasoningclasses.)However,thisapproachcannotultimatelybesatisfactory,becauseitleavesunexplainedhowthelawarrivedatitspresentrationalstatehowitgothere,giventhatitwasnotalwayshere.

    Legalphilosophersmustthereforepursueaphilosophicalhistoryiftheywanttounderstandtheprocessofthelawsdevelopmentasrational.75(Theycannotjustnavelyassumethattheactualhistoricaldevelopmentofthelawcoincideswithitsrationalbasis,becauseagenealogistwilleasilyrefutethat.)Andthereisapressingdemandtoshowthattheprocessofthelawsdevelopmentisrational,becausewearesubjecttothatprocess.Unlesswecanembraceitasrational,theprocesswillappeartousasmerelypositive.Inwhichcaseitsdemiseshouldbeimminent,forwewouldhavecompellingreasontoreplaceitwithanewprocesswhoserationalityisintelligibletous.

    75Cf.RobertB.Brandom,History,Reason,andReality,inREASONINPHILOSOPHY,supranote67,5.