Re: memetic error (?)

From: Ray Recchia (
Date: Thu 12 Dec 2002 - 23:21:01 GMT

  • Next message: Ray Recchia: "Re: memetic error (?)"

    At 08:53 PM 12/12/2002 +0000, you wrote:
    >This can be seen in legal systems. Legal theorists can become known
    >through canonic readings of subsequent scholars. John Austin is known
    >to many legal scholars solely through the interpretation of Hart and
    >others, rather than the original. see Morrison Jurisprudence from
    >Greeks to Post-modernism.
    >The same can happen with respect to court judgements and legislation.
    >In effect, the primary texts become secondary, superseded by a more
    >collective text of prevailing opinion and thinking. There's a folk
    >saying attributed to the American bar, that when really pressed, as a
    >last resort, judges have actually been known the read the statute they
    >are supposed to be applying. This is a bit tongue-in-cheek, and far
    >from true, but makes a point.

    I don't know about that. The adversarial nature of the court system tends to inhibit misquoting. The first thing I do when responding to legal briefs is to print out every case cited by my opponent to see if there are any ways to distinguish my case. Dating back to decades before on line legal research, lawyers have had elaborate systems for finding the law. Judges tend to rely on what is in the briefs, but they have busy agendas and assume that adversaries will pick out the main points.

    Also, very little of what goes into a legal brief or court decision will come from non-legal secondary sources. It isn't the law, so it isn't given much weight.

    Ray Recchia

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