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Vol 23 No 5 May/June 2018

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Stanley Fish on Philosophy, Politics and Law: How Fish Works

ISBN13: 9781107074743
Published: August 2014
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Hardback
Price: £82.00
Paperback edition , ISBN13 9781107427372

Despatched in 6 to 8 days.

Fish's writings on philosophy, politics and law comprise numerous books and articles produced over many decades.

This book connects those dots in order to reveal the overall structure of his argument and to demonstrate how his work in politics and law flows logically from his philosophical stands on the nature of the self, epistemology and the role of theory.

Michael Robertson considers Fish's political critiques of liberalism, critical theory, postmodernism and pragmatism before turning to his observations on political substance and political practice. The detailed analysis of Fish's jurisprudence explores his relationships to legal positivism, legal formalism, legal realism and critical legal studies, as well as his debate with Ronald Dworkin.

Gaps and inconsistencies in Fish's arguments are fully explored, and the author provides a description of Fish's own positive account of law and deals with the charge that Fish is an indeterminacy theorist who undermines the rule of law.

  • First book-length study of Fish's works in the areas of philosophy, politics and law
  • Draws together Fish's scattered writings on philosophy, politics and law, thereby making the overall structure of his argument more visible
  • Helps readers overcome the puzzlement that many experience when reading Fish by explaining the reasons for Fish's initially counterintuitive positions in clear, simple language


Part I. Philosophy:
1. The nature of the self
2. Epistemology
3. The role of theory

Part II. Politics:
4. Political theory
5. Political substance
6. Political practice

Part III. Law:
7. Legal positivism
8. Legal formalism
9. The Fish/Dworkin debate
10. Fish's positive account of law
11. Change and indeterminacy in law
12. Legal realism and critical legal studies