People hate lawyers because 99% of them give the rest of us a bad reputation. People hate law profs because some think and speak like this:
"Larry seems to argue that our own normative or empirical notions cannot play a role in fixing the semantic content of constitutional text: In his words, the belief that "semantic content is determined after the fact of communication on the basis of what we would like an utterance to have meant given our practical concerns" is a "fundamentally confused" way to think about interpretation (page 103). Larry includes three pages (pages 146-49) on the principle of charity, Quine, and Davidson in Semantic Originalism, but he treats charity as a way of reducing ambiguity through "construction" rather than as a form of "interpretation."
I think that I disagree with Larry on the role of charity, which I take to be built into interpretation just as deeply as any anthropological examination of dictionaries and rules of grammar."
Posted by: Kitty C at January 12, 2010 08:08 AM
No wonder lawyers are.....the way they are.
Posted by: Flighterdoc at January 12, 2010 08:09 AM
I have a PhD in Information systems and have found that there a total disconnect between the writting one does for an academic or "scholarly" journal and what one writes for general consumption.
For example I friend could not understand why his absolutely terrific paper would not be published in the trade journals. I read it and realized that is was 10 pages and basically incomprehensible for the normally fairly well educated human being. We are trained to write for a particular audience and forget to actually check if that is actually our audience.
Posted by: Rich at January 12, 2010 08:18 AM
As you can see when I am not writing scholarly my writing is a total mess :)
Posted by: Rich at January 12, 2010 09:40 AM
IMNSHO, Lawyers, law profs, judges and those "trained" in law have absolutely no sense of logic and very limited education in language. They are locked in a philosophical box, taped shut during their "education". They describe everything as though they are in the box discussing its exterior. As are most things, this is a case of TWS, teeny weeny syndrome, where the players are measuring their dicks.
I'm sure the 4 yrs of Ambiguity 101-401 didn't help.
Tiocfaidh ar la!
Posted by: fwb at January 12, 2010 11:12 AM
It's not just law professors, it is all academics. Socrates managed to speak in a way that all could understand. But modern academics try to make themselves as obtuse as possible so as to limit the debate to other academics. They do a disservice to academia.
Posted by: happycynic at January 12, 2010 03:04 PM
That dog won't hunt.
Posted by: Letalis Maximus, Esq. at January 12, 2010 05:47 PM
Charles Bukowski said:
"An intellectual says a simple thing in a difficult way. An artist says a difficult thing in a simple way."
Posted by: Letalis Maximus, Esq. at January 12, 2010 08:17 PM
The modern law professor speaks as unintelligibly as possible because he knows no one has a damn clue what he said. (Of course neither does he) However, knowing his audience is composed of the self-adoring and the soon-to-be documented self adoring, he knows that not one will admit to not understanding his gibberish. All will nod their heads as though they have known "it" all along and congratulate him on his erudition, thereby sharing in light of intelligence only they can see. To really intelligent people crap like this sucks all the light out of the room. However, they can be ignored because they didn't nod their heads in agreement, therefore they can't possibly be as intelligent as all of the frauds who did.
Posted by: straightarrow at January 12, 2010 09:10 PM
Yeah Straightarrow and FWB are right. Those self-centered fraudulent lawyers should just go away and stop working to protect the rights of Americans. Who needs people to stand up to politicians, prosecutors, and the electorate when they decide to trample on the rights of those in the minority?
Posted by: Wade at January 13, 2010 05:13 AM
It's very simple. If you are going to twist contracts, statutes and constitutional provisions to mean exactly OPPOSITE of their plain meaning, you are going to have to make a completely incomprehensible argument so few can follow enough to realize the Emperor has no clothes.
The problem is that courts have elevated this kind of intricate nonsense argument and nonsense discussion to the point that many people consider it to be a virtue. It's not a virtue, it is fundamentally dishonest.
The only reason why nonsense language like this is rewarded by the courts is that the judges have gone along with it. Any judge is within his discretion to toss arguments made in this fashion, but they don't. Any appellate judge is free to overrule holdings based on this nonsense language, but they affirm them instead.
Posted by: Kman at January 13, 2010 05:33 AM
Straight arrow has it right - in a couple of my courses the very first day I mention what happens at the presentation of conference papers. The presenter gives the talk and the audience nods their heads and no one raises their hand to ask a question. NOT because they understood what was said but because they look around and do not see anyone else raising their hand and so do not want to appear stupid, that they were the only one who did not understand.
Then I tell them not to be like those people - raise your hand and ask question because if you did not understand it, I did not explain it right!
Posted by: Rich at January 13, 2010 09:23 AM
With all due respect, many lawyers do have a firm grasp of logic. You just never hear about us because we don't go around saying stupid shit that gets printed in papers.
Posted by: Jim W at January 13, 2010 04:17 PM