Administrative Law Pragmatism


I decided that I would spend some time today explaining what I mean by this notion of pragmatism in the context of administrative law and how it has played out in my writing. The word “pragmatism” can have a variety of meanings, ranging from formal philosophy to popular usage. In the field of law, pragmatism commonly means a perspective that evaluates policies by looking at how they work out in practice. The test of a good policy, according to this view, is that it leads to beneficial real-world outcomes. It can be helpful to contrast pragmatism with formalism and various ideologically driven approaches: the pragmatist tends to mistrust positions that people take “on principle” if those advocates do not take account of how their positions work out in practice.


Administrative law, Pragmatism, United States



Ronald M. Levin (Washington University School of Law)



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