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Holmes, Oliver Wendell, Jr (1841–1935)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-T037-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved September 16, 2019, from

Article Summary

The most famous judge in the history of the USA, Holmes was also one of the most important US legal theorists. Within US jurisprudence, his work prefigured and stimulated the development of a general distrust of abstractions. Holmes emphasized that, in so far as logical deductions and abstract principles play any role at all in the law, they are side-effects of the ways in which struggles among different interests have been varyingly resolved. For him, the life of the law was not logic but experience; and experience was too diverse and conflict-ridden to be controllable on the basis of any sweeping formulae.

Citing this article:
Kramer, Matthew H.. Holmes, Oliver Wendell, Jr (1841–1935), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-T037-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2019 Routledge.

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