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11 Mich. L. Rev. 1 (1912-1913)
What Is the Law

handle is hein.journals/mlr11 and id is 21 raw text is: MICHIGAN
VoL. XI.              NOVEMBER, 1912                    No. i
T is intended that this title shall demand an analysis of the field
of study in which the lawyer or jurist works and a determi-
nation qf its essential and contributing elements. The purpose
of the article is to sketch briefly a partial answer which will be
instructive and helpful to the student who faces the problem as I
faced it some ten years ago. I do not expect that anything new
will be found in these ideas. I imagine that all of them must 'have
been expressed many times before. Some of them are common-
place. None is esoteric. Probably the value of what I shall say
will lie in focusing the attention on facts which commonly influence
thought and action, but seldom are brought before the footlights of
consciousness, comprehended, and properly correlated.
At the outset I wish to free my discussion from a cloud which
would dim whatever clarity it might otherwise possess. In all philo-
sophical debate there is much that is only a wrangle over language
and its, meanings. This is true of the literature of jurisprudence.
It is not easy to keep a controversy concerning a hazy topic of sub-
stance from stumbling into the ditch of merely verbal disputes. It
requires unprejudiced, receptive, and discriminating habits of thought
to understand opposing statements as the maker understood them,
to get fully and in proper relief his point of view, and then to criti'-
cise, not his expression, but his perception and comprehension of
facts. The flexibility of language and the uncommonness of clear,
adequate exposition increase the difficulty. It is comparatively easy
to attach an unintended meaning to expression in honesty and with
plausibility which will open it to criticism. The ensuing dispute fre-
quently will rage interminably over matters of language without eith-
er party realizing that this is the only issue. Such differences between
myself and my reader I hibernioally desire to remove before they
occur. It will be necessary in the course of this article to mention

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