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Abstract

This paper explores borrowing a meta-theoretical approach to theory from the natural and social sciences in order to provide a framework within which to situate and evaluate the various theories one encounters in the field of law and jurisprudence. Often it is the case that students of jurisprudence go from one school or theory to another with one of three responses: (1) this makes no sense to me; (2) this makes some sense, but what is the point or relevance; or (3) this makes sense and seems true, but so do many of the schools, theories, and theorists we have studied. How do we make sense of this feeling that many of the theories we encounter seem true? Is it that we really do not understand them, or is it because we are dealing with them too superficially? Can one meaningfully and usefully create a theory or model of legal theory or jurisprudence that helps us answer these questions, or is jurisprudence really just a ragbag or set of conceptual claims about labels? Is the search for something called "truth" in law a mistaken enterprise?