Five Paths of Environmental Scholarship

In this interpretive essay, Professor Freyfogle surveys the field of environmental law scholarship and finds a great deal that is lacking. Far too often, he argues, scholars begin their writings by skipping over foundational issues-issues such as the locus of moral value, the nature of humans, the limits on human knowledge, the ultimate causes of environmental degradation, and the overall aims of envi-ronmental law.Freyfogle divides contemporary scholarship and scholars into five groups: Libertarians, Simple Fixers, Dispute Resolvers, Progres-sive Reformers, and Advocates for the Land Community. Differences among them, he argues, deal chiefly with underlying issues that are rarely joined and, in the case of some scholars, perhaps never well considered. The failure to address these issues more openly, he con-tends, weakens the scholarly field as a whole, making it less useful in particular for nonlaw readers. His essay concludes with speculations on student law journal article selection processes and their impacts on environmental law as an academic field.* Max L. Rowe Professor of Law, University of Illinois College of Law.

The full text of this Symposium is available to download as a PDF.