San Diego Law Review

Article Title

Theories of Areas of Law


Michael Moore

Library of Congress Authority File


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The topic of this symposium is "theories and the law." Since this is such an enormously broad topic, the first thing to do is to narrow it a bit. As I shall discuss it, the topic is not on the central topic of jurisprudence, which is the theory of law. My topic is theories within our law, rather than theories about the nature of law in general. Often we call such theorizing internal to the law we have, "internal jurisprudence," to be contrasted with an "external jurisprudence" that is about law as such. Within internal jurisprudence, there is still considerable variation in the generality of the object of one's theorizing. One can theorize about areas of law, as I intend to do, or one can theorize about discrete causes of action within areas of law, developing "theories of negligence," and the like. One can also theorize about items as discrete as a "theory of a case," as lawyers use the phrase to refer to a basis for recovery in a particular case. Such internal theories can, on the other hand, be as broad as Ronald Dworkin's kind of internal jurisprudence, which is about law (as we practice it in the Anglo-American legal culture) itself. Irrespective of their level of generality, I call all of these theorizings internal jurisprudence.' Such jurisprudence is "internal" in the sense that the theories that I shall discuss are theories within the law, theories that aim to be a part of the law of which they are a theory.

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