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January 22, 2009


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A very interesting discussion. It seems to me that law has a lot more of what, in philosophy, would be called "critical notices", fairly long (20+ pages), pretty substantial discussions of books. These are often useful and sometimes even significant contributions to scholarship. But, they take up a lot of space and also take quite a while to produce. If you don't get much "credit" for them the incentive to do them will be low. Maybe there's room for more shorter book reviews in law reviews or other places? To my mind the best regular philosophy journal for reviews is _Ethics_. It runs, in every issue, 5-15 reviews of 1-4 pages each. It's very useful. Even more useful, and perhaps a model to be considered by some enterprising law school, is the Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, an all-on-line, all-review publication that prints 5-8 reviews a week, at least one a week day, in all areas of philosophy. The reviews are usually of very high quality and are done by a nice mix of junior and senior people. It's here: It's edited by Gary Gutting of the Notre Dame philosophy department. It seems to me that something similar could be done for law (and related) books if some school wanted to take the lead on it. It could even be done w/ student help, law-review like.


Hmm, my link got stripped somehow. The NDPR is here:


Agreed, Matt. I think there's also some room for regular law reviews to do more of this. Relatively short pieces that actually focus on the book, rather than the typical "essay review"--which I enjoy reading, but which often go rather far afield from the book. Reviews in American History is a nice model along these lines, too.


A pretty active law-related, online book review already exists: The Law and Politics Book Review, published by the Law and Courts Section of APSA at

It is pretty broad ranging, but as might be expected is oriented toward legal works with political content.

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