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Access_open Law Schools and Ethics of Democracy

Special Issue on Pragmatism and Legal Education Sanne Taekema & Thomas Riesthuis (eds.)

Journal Law and Method, August 2021
Keywords legal education, democracy, pragmatism
Authors Michal Stambulski
AbstractAuthor's information

    Contemporary critical analyses of legal education indicate that legal education is undemocratic as it is based on a discipline that produces subjects who obey hierarchies, are free from the habit of criticism and are ready to self-sacrifice for promotion in the social hierarchy. At the same time, critical analyses offer the very passive vision of the law student as merely ‘being processed’ through the educational grinder. Paradoxically, in doing so they confirm the vision they criticize. This article argues that, by adopting a pragmatic philosophical perspective, it is possible to go beyond this one-sided picture. Over the past few decades, there has been an increase in ‘practical’ attitudes in legal education. Socrates’ model of didactics, clinical education and moot courts are giving rise to institutionalized ideas as structural elements of legal education, owing to which a purely disciplinary pedagogy may be superseded. All these practices allow students to accept and confront the viewpoints of others. Education completed in harmony with these ideas promotes an active, critical member of community, who is ready to advance justified moral judgements, and as such is compliant with pragmatic ethics of democracy.


Michal Stambulski
Dr. Michal Stambulski is postdoctoral researcher at the Erasmus University Rotterdam and assistant professor at the University of Zielona Gora.
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