Thursday, April 15, 2004

O.W. Holmes, Jr., Made Modern on Matters of Gender

The same article I mentioned on the 14th (of this month) rendered one of the most famous passages in American law thus:

The life of the law has not been logic: it has been experience. The felt necessities of the time, the prevalent moral and political theories, intuitions of public policy, avowed or unconscious, even the prejudices which judges share with [others], have had a good deal more to do than the syllogism in determining the rules by which [all] should be governed.

I wonder: Did it occur to the author or the editors that Holmes, by modern standards, was a "sexist" and that the reformulation of his (poetic) passage distorts an important item in the historical record?

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