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University of Chicago Law Review


Using Nietzsche's great essay on the uses and disadvantages of history for life as his jumping-off point, Judge Posner examines the utility of the study of history for adjudication and legal scholarship. He argues, following Nietzsche; that the wrong kind of historical study can be very bad for "life " including law, while the right kind-the kind deployed by a pragmatic judge or a policy-oriented legal scholar-may deviate from literal accuracy in the direction of a rhetorical and imaginative narrative of historical events that can be constructively employed in a forward-looking approach to legal problems.

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