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FORMALISM IN MUSIC AND LAW

Allan Beever
The University of Toronto Law Journal
Vol. 61, No. 2, UNDERSTANDING LAW ON ITS OWN TERMS: ESSAYS ON THE OCCASION OF ERNEST WEINRIB'S KILLAM PRIZE (Spring 2011), pp. 213-239
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23018567
Page Count: 27
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FORMALISM IN MUSIC AND LAW
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Abstract

Though apparently dead and buried for decades, formalist approaches to law appear to be gaining ground within the academy. This advance, however, has been strongly resisted by proponents of the alternative, functionalist, view. To many of them, formalism seems open to devastating, and indeed obvious, criticisms. In this article, I argue that these criticisms are without force, as they are based on misunderstandings concerning the formalist project. I demonstrate this by comparison with formalist approaches to another subject matter: music. In that area, too, formalism initially faced considerable challenge, but it survived to become the dominant view. It is submitted that the popular criticisms of formalism examined herein are no barrier to a similar outcome for formalism with respect to law. In that way, this article is intended as a defence and celebration of the path-breaking work of Ernest Weinrib.

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