Encyclopedia of the Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy

Living Edition
| Editors: Mortimer Sellers, Stephan Kirste

Fish, Stanley

  • Michael RobertsonEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6730-0_8-1


Stanley Fish is a scholar of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English Literature whose work expanded into the areas of legal and political philosophy. This was not a new direction so much as an extension of philosophical commitments that he had developed in his earlier work. One of these commitments was a conception of the self that could be described as falling within the communitarian tradition. Fish argues that the attributes that people acquire by being socialized into different institutions, and by being embedded in particular local contexts, are not secondary attributes of a deeper, more enduring self. Rather the self is completely constituted by its local commitments. Take them away, and you would not have an essential, stripped-down self, rather you would have no self at all. A second important philosophical commitment is to an anti-foundationalist epistemology. Simply put, anti-foundationalism holds that there is no unmediated perception of the world and hence...

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  1. Fish S (1989) Doing what comes naturally. Duke University Press, DurhamCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Fish S (1994) There’s no such thing as free speech, and it’s a good thing, too. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  3. Fish S (1999) The trouble with principle. Harvard University Press, LondonGoogle Scholar
  4. Olson G (2002) Justifying belief: Stanley Fish and the work of rhetoric. SUNY Press, AlbanyGoogle Scholar
  5. Olson G, Worsham L (eds) (2004) Postmodern sophistry: Stanley Fish and the critical enterprise. SUNY Press, AlbanyGoogle Scholar
  6. Robertson M (2014) Stanley Fish on philosophy, politics and law. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Schanck P (1991) Understanding postmodern thought and its implications for statutory interpretation. South Calif Law Rev 65:2505Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of LawUniversity of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand

Section editors and affiliations

  • Sally Scholz
    • 1
  1. 1.Philosophy DepartmentVillanova UniversityVillanovaUSA