American Legal Thought from Premodernism to Postmodernism: An Intellectual Voyage

Paperback | January 15, 2000

byStephen M. Feldman

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In a little over two hundred years, American legal thought moved from premodernism through modernism and into postmodernism. This book charts that intellectual voyage, stressing both the historical contexts in which ideas unfolded and the inherent force of the ideas themselves.Author Stephen M. Feldman first defines "premodernism," "modernism," and "postmodernism," then explains the development of American legal thought through these three intellectual periods. His narrative revolves around two broad, interrelated themes: jurisprudential foundations and the notion ofprogress. He points out that much of American legal thought has grappled with the problem of identifying the foundations of the American judicial system and judicial decision making. The various ideas of jurisprudential foundations, moreover, are closely tied to shifting notions of progress-thedefinition of the term, assumptions about the possibility of progress, and hopes about how law might contribute to it.This book's broad historical sweep and its clear explanations of the competing theoretical positions of current legal scholarship make it indispensable to students and scholars of jurisprudence and American legal history.

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In a little over two hundred years, American legal thought moved from premodernism through modernism and into postmodernism. This book charts that intellectual voyage, stressing both the historical contexts in which ideas unfolded and the inherent force of the ideas themselves.Author Stephen M. Feldman first defines "premodernism," "mo...

Stephen M. Feldman is Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of Tulsa. He is the author of Please Don't Wish Me a Merry Christmas: A Critical History of the Separation of Church and State (1997) and numerous articles on jurisprudence and constitutional law.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 2.99 × 4.02 × 4.41 inPublished:January 15, 2000Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195109678

ISBN - 13:9780195109672

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Table of Contents

I. Introduction: On Intellectual HistoryII. Charting the Intellectual Waters: Premodernism, Modernism, and PostmodernismA. PremodernismB. ModernismC. PostmodernismIII. Premodern American Legal ThoughtA. Premodern Jurisprudence: In GeneralB. First-Stage Premodern Jurisprudence: Natural Law and Republican GovernmentC. Opposing ForcesD. Second-Stage Premodern Jurisprudence: Natural Law and ProgressIV. Modern American Legal ThoughtA. The Onset of Positivism: The Civil War and Other ForcesB. First-Stage Modern Jurisprudence: Langdellian Legal ScienceC. Second-Stage Modern Jurisprudence: American Legal RealismD. Third-Stage Modern Jurisprudence: American Legal RealismE. Fourth-Stage Modern Jurisprudence: Late CrisisV. Postmodern American Legal ThoughtA. Across a Shadowy Border: From Modern to Postmodern JurisprudenceB. Postmodern Themes in Legal ThoughtVI. Conclusion: A Glimpse of the Future?

Editorial Reviews

"[Feldman's book] is a tour de force establishing him as an important scholar of jurisprudence. Defying the postmodern mandate against the writing of grand narratives, or meta-histories, Professor Feldman's book is a sweeping confluence of history, politics, economics, sociology andliterature...The origins and principles of every school of jurisprudence are examined and explained within the historical context of each...Feldman's book is a major contributor to the solution of one of postmodernism's severest criticisms, namely that it cannot be defined. After reading this book,make no mistake, one knows what postmodernism is and what postmodern jurisprudence is all about."--Tulsa Law Journal