Thinking, Big and Small

Reading Kahneman’s book and thinking about a tribute to Ed Cooper that has more substance than a bouquet have caused me to reflect on a phenomenon within the world of legal scholarship. I would call it a cognate phenomenon, but that would dishonor the empirical basis of Kahneman’s work by suggesting a firmer basis for my reflections than the power of analogical reasoning. The phenomenon is the view that the goal of legal scholarship is or should be big ideas, particularly if they can claim the mantle of theory, rather than small ideas, particularly if they can be tarred with the feathers of doctrine. My reflections about this phenomenon and the work and career of Ed Cooper led me to the title of this essay.