Origins of Order
Project and System in the American Legal Imagination (Yale Law Library Series in Legal History and Reference)
Other Editions of This Title:
Western accounts of natural and political order have deployed two basic ideas: project and system. In a project, order is produced by the intentional act of a subject; in a system, order is immanent in the world. In the former, order is made; in the latter, discovered.
Paul W. Kahn shows how project and system have long been at work in our theological and philosophical tradition. Against this background, Kahn explains the development of the modern legal imagination in the nineteenth century as a movement from project to system. Americans began the century imagining the constitutional order as their common project: a deliberate construction of We the People. They ended the century imagining that order is continuous with the common law: an immanent development of the principles of civilization. This imaginative shift affected ideas of legal text, sovereignty, citizenship, interpretation, history, and science.
Praise For Origins of Order: Project and System in the American Legal Imagination (Yale Law Library Series in Legal History and Reference)…
"In the tradition of philosophical anthropology, Paul Kahn reads important texts in U.S. constitutional history using the concepts of 'project'—reasoned design—and 'system'—emergent order. His wide-ranging analysis puts familiar material in a new and thought-provoking light."—Mark Tushnet, Harvard Law School
"Paul Kahn’s contrast between law as deliberate political engineering and as immanent spontaneous order guides him through a fundamental—and stunningly original—reimagining of our constitutional history."—Robert W. Gordon, author of Taming the Past: Law in History and History in Law
"This latest book by one of our most truly profound and challenging thinkers about law offers consistently challenging reflections on different ways of approaching American law, particularly American constitutionalism. I can easily envision its becoming the basis of seminars and intense discussion."—Sanford Levinson, author of An Argument Open to All: Reading The Federalist in the 21st Century
“An eloquent exploration of two persistent, often conflicting alternatives that structure the American legal imaginary: project and system … a powerful and humane work of legal philosophy, legal history, and constitutional theory."—Jonathan Sheehan, author of Invisible Hands: Self-Organization and Enlightenment
“This is a difficult but intriguing work by a scholar of considerable eminence.”—R. C. Cottrell, emeritus, California State University, Chico
Yale University Press, 9780300243413, 344pp.
Publication Date: October 29, 2019