3-16-87 The weekend of basketball behind me, I focused attention on my [preliminary-exam] reading list and the research for Allen Buchanan. After a morning of reading and work on my charity manuscript, I drove to school to mail a couple of letters and visit the law library. There, as usual, I examined new issues of the law journals and copied articles for Allen. I also found an interesting article by Mark Sagoff on liberalism and environmentalism. [Mark Sagoff, “Can Environmentalists Be Liberals? Jurisprudential Foundations of Environmentalism,” Environmental Law 16 (summer 1986): 775-96.] This, by the way, is one thing that I find exciting about philosophy and law. The range of issues is incredibly wide. When I’ve received my Ph.D. degree and taken a teaching position, I can focus on anything that captures my interest, from ethical theory to legal theory to the environment to metaphilosophy to entrapment—well, you get the picture. I’m an intellectual gadfly, so this is right up my alley.
While at the law library, I ran into Bob Schopp, who is completing work on a joint Ph.D./J.D. degree (he already has a Ph.D. degree in psychology). We discussed legal publishing and law journals, primarily. I told Bob that it’s disgusting how much Richard Posner and Richard Epstein write. No matter where I look, I said, I seem to find new and interesting articles by them. Both, in addition, regularly publish books. And Posner is a [United States] Court of Appeals judge! Bob is less impressed by them than I am. In fact, he said that to some people, anything they say, on any issue, is important. I laughed, because this is precisely the case with Epstein. I had just seen a short article by him on constitutional law in which he confessed, right off the bat, to never having taught a course on the subject. But immediately he turned this into a virtue, rather than a shortcoming, saying that it left him untainted, unfazed by the traditional categories. While I’m impressed by the quantity of both Posner’s and Epstein’s writing, I’m not impressed by the quality. Epstein is a dunce, while Posner is single-minded and ideological. Neither, in short, is sufficiently philosophical. I have only so much patience with this type of person. [I’ve changed my mind about Posner, in part because he has written about so many more topics. He’s not only brilliant; he’s a masterful stylist. I enjoy reading him, on any topic.]
Today is technically the first day of spring break. But our weather is horrible: a high temperature of fifty-six degrees [Fahrenheit], rain, and dark clouds everywhere. Our high temperature has dropped twenty-five degrees in only two days, and twenty-eight in four. So I’m depressed by it all. And even worse, there are two other Pacific storms headed in our direction. I’ll kill somebody (perhaps a meteorologist) if it doesn’t get warm quickly.