Eric A. Posner


One of the most notable trends in legal scholarship is the explosion of writing on social norms. Just a few years ago one might have argued that the scholarship was marginal, of interest to only a handful of law professors, but expressions of skepticism about the value of this scholarship have become rare. At the same time, it would be wrong to say that "law and social norms" ("LSN") is a movement or school within legal scholarship: the writings about this topic are too diverse, and there is little of that sense of forward movement that is characteristic of more established schools such as law and economics. The problem is a lack so far of coherent organizing principles for mastering and rendering usable a highly fragmented body of writings. If such principles are not developed, one fears that the literature will eventually collapse under its own weight, leaving scattered insights but no real wisdom.