Who's afraid of the big bad fish? Rethinking what the law wishes to have

Morss, John R. 2003, Who's afraid of the big bad fish? Rethinking what the law wishes to have, Melbourne University law review, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 199-216.

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Title Who's afraid of the big bad fish? Rethinking what the law wishes to have
Author(s) Morss, John R.
Journal name Melbourne University law review
Volume number 27
Issue number 1
Start page 199
End page 216
Publisher Melbourne University
Place of publication Melbourne, Vic.
Publication date 2003-04
ISSN 0025-8938
Summary This article aims to re-evaluate the contribution of Stanley Fish to legal studies. In  "The Law  Wishes to Have a Formal existence", Fish accused the law of maintaining a formal,  positivistic self-image as principled; an activity rhat rises above processes of interpretation and of moral judgement. For this `antiformalist‘ Fish there is thus a false sense of self-sufficent closure to the law's discourse. More recently however: in discussing the practice of another profession (namely literary criticism) Fish demonstrates that the basis of aclivity per se is internal intelligibility - that is intelligibility  within a defined community. These apparent  inconsistencies are explored. Re-reading `The Law Wishes to Have a Formal Existence' one can discern errors in Fish's account of a key case and one can also find support for the  professionalism position that he subsequently articulates. It is therefore argued that  Fish's account of the general characteristics of professional practice, including legal, are of value. The implications of his account of professionalism in the law are, however, incompatible with the usual understanding of his more combative statements about the role of formal language and principle-based argument of the law.
Language eng
Field of Research 180199 Law not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30004092

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Law
Higher Education Research Group
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