Document Type

Book Chapter


Forthcoming in H. Miyazaki and R. Swedberg (eds.), Hope in the Economy, 2010.


This essay asks what legal studies can contribute to the now vigorous debates in economics, sociology, psychology, philosophy, literary studies and anthropology about the nature and sources of hope in personal and social life. What does the law contribute to hope? Is there anything hopeful about law? Rather than focus on the ends of law (social justice, economic efficiency, etc.) this essay focuses instead on the means (or techniques of the law). Through a critical engagement with the work of Hans Vaihinger, Morris Cohen and Pierre Schlag on legal fictions and legal technicalities, the essay argues that what is “hopeful” about law is its “As If” quality.

Date of Authorship for this Version



legal fiction, legal theory, jurisprudence, japan, hope