Jethro K. Lieberman

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Fight the Hypo: FAKE Arguments, Trolleyology, and the Limits of Hypotheticals

Tribeca Square Press, 2014, 36pp.

My Martin Professorship Inaugural Lecture, delivered on April 26, 2014, in New York. Law professors, and others, conventionally use hypothetical questions, to test students' understanding of doctrine, rules, and logic. In recent years, the hypothetical has become a tool of psychologists to investigate our moral and ethical understanding. This essay investigates pitfalls in how the answers to hypotheticals are interpreted and suggests reasons for resisting their lure.

For a copy, please send me an email with an address.

Selected Works

A retort to friends who thought it was time to thin out the bookshelves.
A critique of hypotheticals as a tool for judging the thought of others.
For students studying constitutional law: what it's about, how to learn it, in language easy to grasp.
Political Theory, Government
Resuscitates liberalism as a practical political doctrine.
On writing clear, readable, and persuasive prose. 3d edition published January 2016
An article on the sins of scholarly writing — and a video to boot.
Constitutional Law
The meaning of the Constitution, and how it has changed over time, on the eve of its bicentennial.
Law and Society
The first book to seek the underlying causes for, and consequences of, America’s growing urge to sue.
A searching look at the moral disarray of the post-Watergate lawyers' code of ethics.
Terrorists take over the United Nations and commit a series of atrocities to free their imprisoned soldiers. An Israeli agent to the rescue. Sounds familiar, but this appeared in 1978, before some of the things imagined had ever played out.
Edited anthologies.
Articles in the popular press, pamphlets, and more.