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Durham University

Department of Philosophy


Publication details for Professor Thom Brooks

Brooks, Thom (2015). David Ingersoll, Behavioralism and the Modern Revival of Legal Realism. Beijing Law Review 6(3): 190-192.

Author(s) from Durham


David Ingersoll’s essay “Karl Llewellyn, American Legal Realism and Contemporary Legal Behavioralism”
is a significant, but neglected contribution to our understanding of legal realism in the
United States. This article argues that it first anticipates the shape of legal realism’s revival today
and shows that Ingersoll was ahead of his time. The once dominant school of legal realism had become
a much maligned theory of law when this essay was first published. Ingersoll identifies two
varieties of legal realism and most critics focus on only one of them. He argues that legal realism
should be revived if it develops its second variety often overlooked which accepts rule skepticism
and recognizes the importance of social psychology to predicting legal outcomes more reliably.