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February 05, 2012


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Brando Simeo Starkey

Very interesting post. What counts as the opening line? The opening line of the first chapter or the opening line of the Introduction?

Alfred Brophy

Thanks, Brando. Either, I guess. It's probably a good idea to work on both The Sahlins line that I talk about above is, I think, the first line of his first chapter. Isaac's opening is before he even gets to the title page of The Transformation of Virginia.

I'm thinking about trying something similar to Isaac with University, Court, and Slave, because I want to try to be very explicit about how faculty writing can help us understand jurisprudence and I think it might helpful to outline those many moving parts in pretty simple terms.


I've always liked this line from very early in _A Theory of Justice_: "Justice is the first virtue of social institutions, as truth is of systems of thought." (It's the first line of the first sub-section in Chapter 1, after a bit of stage-setting.) It's an important bit that was immediately forgotten by very many (though not all) critics. Or, a nearly great first line from a book I don't much like, Nozick's _Anarchy, State, and Utopia_, "Individuals have rights, and there are things no person or group may do to them (without violating their rights)." (It's striking, sums up a lot of the book, but fails to be great by being a bit too clunky. To my mind it would be much better as this: "Individuals have rights, and there are things no one may do to them without violating those rights." Or something like that.

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