It′s All in the Game

A Nonfoundationalist Account of Law and Adjudication

It′s All in the Game

Book Pages: 392 Illustrations: Published: January 2000

Law, Politics > Political Theory

Three questions concerning modern legal thought provide the framework for It’s All in the Game: What should judges do? What do judges do? What can judges do? Contrasting his own answers to traditional responses and moving playfully between debates of high theory, daily practices of appellate judges, and his own enlightening analyses of significant court rulings, Allan C. Hutchinson examines what it means to treat adjudication as an engaged game of rhetorical justification. His resulting argument enables the reader to grasp more fully the practical operation, political determinants, and the transformative possibilities of law and adjudication.
Taking on leading contemporary theories to explore the claim that “law is politics,” Hutchinson delineates a route toward professional, relevant, and responsible—if radical—judicial practices. After discussing the difference between foundationalist, antifoundationalist, and nonfoundationalist legal critiques, he offers a focused, unequivocal, and positive account of the advantages of operating within a nonfoundationalist framework. Although such an approach centralizes the role of rhetoric in law, Hutchinson claims that this does not necessitate a turn away from politics or, more particularly, from a progressive politics. Driving home the political and jurisprudential impact of his critique and of his account of nonfoundationalist alternatives, he urges judges and jurists to engage in law’s language game of politics.
This engaging book will interest linguistic philosophers, legal theorists, law students, attorneys, judges, and jurists of all stripes.


“[A] serious contribution to legal theory and one very well worth reading. Hutchinson’s argument is thought provoking, informative, well written, engaging, and quite cogent. . . . Additionally, Hutchinson’s broader comparative perspective, drawing on judicial decisions from the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, and South Africa, is also quite valuable and greatly enriches his arguments.” — Jack Wade Nowlin , Law and Politics Book Review

“[A] wonderful book . . . . It’s All in the Game provides for legal scholars who do not stay up late at night reading contemporary philosophy an exceptionally lucid and nontechnical description of this new paradigm . . . .” — Lief Carter, Justice System Journal

“[Hutchinson’s] witty writing style, sustained analyses of theoretical debates, daily practices of appellate judges, and analysis of significant court rulings are superb.” — M. G. Pufong , Choice

“Hutchinson’s engaging defence of the proposition that ‘anything might go’ in legal analysis does much to remind the reader that some of what passes for normal, logical, or incontestable legal reasoning is nothing of the sort.” — Hamish Stewart , University of Toronto Quarterly

"Professor Hutchinson writes as elegantly and pointedly in his scholarly books and law journal articles as in his popular works and contributions to the Toronto Star. Articulate and occasionally lyrical, It’s All in the Game offers a highly attractive exposition of critical theory in illustrating a related thesis that the best jurisprudence offers the most attractive judgment. . . . [Readers] should put this book near the top of their reading lists. These readers ultimately will join those already familiar with the book in recommending it to others." — William E. Wiethoff , Review of Communication

It’s All in the Game sharpens a pressing debate in legal theory and helps show a way out. It is compelling and clear, and a certain classic from a leading theorist of our time.” — Lawrence Lessig, Harvard University Law School

“A particularly thoughtful attempt to carve out a ‘middle way’ between the formalist and the political vision of law.” — Paul Campos, University of Colorado, Boulder

“A significant and important contribution to legal theory that is both well-written and stimulating. Hutchinson’s book offers the serious reader a perspective that previously had been missing in the debates about modernism and postmodernism in law—yet it remains refreshingly down to earth and readable.” — Gary Minda, Brooklyn Law School


Availability: In stock
Price: $84.95

Open Access

Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Allan C. Hutchinson has been Professor of Law at Osgoode Hall Law School at York University in Toronto and is now University Research Professor at Cardiff Law School, University of Wales. His books include Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility and Waiting for Coraf: A Critique of Law and Rights.

Table of Contents Back to Top

1. Playing the Game: An Introduction

2. It’s All in the Game: Adjudication in a Nonfoundationalist Way

3. The Language Game: From Ambiguity to Indeterminacy

4. Playing with Authority: Interpretation and Identity

5. A Pure Way of Playing: The Naturalist Revival

6. At Play in the Fields of Law: The Reasoning Game

7. Playing by the Rules: A Good Faith Approach

8. Calling the Shots: The Development of Legal Doctrine

9. Playing Politics: Putting Poetry in Motion

10. Playing with the Rules: Experiments in Judging

11. Overtime? A Conclusion



Sales/Territorial Rights: World

Rights and licensing
Additional InformationBack to Top
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-2428-7
Publicity material