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Collected EssaysVolume III$
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Haym Soloveitchik

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781904113997

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781904113997.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 28 June 2022

Angle of Deflection

Angle of Deflection

(p.407) Chapter Seventeen Angle of Deflection
Collected Essays

Haym Soloveitchik

Liverpool University Press

This chapter reflects on the principle of 'angle of deflection' or 'measurable deflection'. This principle has been utilized superbly by Mark Cohen in his path-breaking work on Jewish economic activity in the Islamic world. But the principle of angle of deflection still has its critics. Some have seen in it a reflection of legal formalism. Whether law develops from within, as a consequence of an internal dynamic, or whether its motor force is social pressures and the personal predilections and ideologies of judges is an ancient jurisprudential question. The principle of angle of deflection is, however, not a jurisprudential but an evidentiary one. Both formalists and realists agree that the dominant motor force in a system does not operate to the exclusion of all else. The rule of the angle of deflection provides the historian with a criterion by which to assess whether or not a specific jurist in a specific case was influenced by outside considerations.

Keywords:   angle of deflection, measurable deflection, legal formalism, law, formalists, realists, judges

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