Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Eric Posner  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Non-Fiction Other

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1965


-- Eric Posner on WorldCat -- http://www.worldcat.org/search?q=eric+posner


Illinois Connection

Author is the Kirkland and Ellis professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School.

Biographical and Professional Information


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

The Perils of Global Legalism
ISBN: 0226675742

University of Chicago Press. 2009

The first months of the Obama administration have led to expectations, both in the United States and abroad, that in the coming years America will increasingly promote the international rule of law—a position that many believe is both ethically necessary and in the nation’s best interests.

With The Perils of Global Legalism, Eric A. Posner explains that such views demonstrate a dangerously naive tendency toward legalism—an idealistic belief that law can be effective even in the absence of legitimate institutions of governance. After tracing the historical roots of the concept, Posner carefully lays out the many illusions—such as universalism, sovereign equality, and the possibility of disinterested judgment by politically unaccountable officials—on which the legalistic view is founded. Drawing on such examples as NATO’s invasion of Serbia, attempts to ban the use of land mines, and the free-trade provisions of the WTO, Posner demonstrates throughout that the weaknesses of international law confound legalist ambitions—and that whatever their professed commitments, all nations stand ready to dispense with international agreements when it suits their short- or long-term interests.

Provocative and sure to be controversial, The Perils of Global Legalism will serve as a wake-up call for those who view global legalism as a panacea—and a reminder that international relations in a brutal world allow no room for illusions.

The Executive Unbound: After the Madisonian Republic
ISBN: 0199765332

Oxford University Press. 2011

Ever since Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. used "imperial presidency" as a book title, the term has become central to the debate about the balance of power in the U.S. government. Since the presidency of George W. Bush, when advocates of executive power such as Dick Cheney gained ascendancy, the argument has blazed hotter than ever. Many argue the Constitution itself is in grave danger. What is to be done? The answer, according to legal scholars Eric Posner and Adrian Vermeule, is nothing. In The Executive Unbound, they provide a bracing challenge to conventional wisdom, arguing that a strong presidency is inevitable in the modern world. Most scholars, they note, object to today's level of executive power because it varies so dramatically from the vision of the framers. But there is nothing in our system of checks and balances that intrinsically generates order or promotes positive arrangements. In fact, the greater complexity of the modern world produces a concentration of power, particularly in the White House. The authors chart the rise of executive authority straight through to the Obama presidency. Political, cultural and social restraints, they argue, have been more effective in preventing dictatorship than any law. The executive-centered state tends to generate political checks that substitute for the legal checks of the Madisonian constitution.

Climate Change Justice
ISBN: 0691137757

Princeton University Press. 2010

Climate change and justice are so closely associated that many people take it for granted that a global climate treaty should--indeed, must--directly address both issues together. But, in fact, this would be a serious mistake, one that, by dooming effective international limits on greenhouse gases, would actually make the world's poor and developing nations far worse off. This is the provocative and original argument of Climate Change Justice. Eric Posner and David Weisbach strongly favor both a climate change agreement and efforts to improve economic justice. But they make a powerful case that the best--and possibly only--way to get an effective climate treaty is to exclude measures designed to redistribute wealth or address historical wrongs against underdeveloped countries.


In clear language, Climate Change Justice proposes four basic principles for designing the only kind of climate treaty that will work--a forward-looking agreement that requires every country to make greenhouse--gas reductions but still makes every country better off in its own view. This kind of treaty has the best chance of actually controlling climate change and improving the welfare of people around the world.

Terror in the Balance: Security, Liberty, and the Courts
ISBN: 019531025X

Oxford University Press. 2007

In Terror in the Balance, Posner and Vermeule take on civil libertarians of both the left and the right, arguing that the government should be given wide latitude to adjust policy and liberties in the times of emergency. They emphasize the virtues of unilateral executive actions and argue for making extensive powers available to the executive as warranted. The judiciary should neither second-guess security policy nor interfere on constitutional grounds. In order to protect citizens, government can and should use any legal instrument that is warranted under ordinary cost-benefit analysis. The value gained from the increase in security will exceed the losses from the decrease in liberty. At a time when the 'struggle against violent extremism' dominates the United States' agenda, this important and controversial work will spark discussion in the classroom and intellectual press alike.

Law and Social Norms
ISBN: 0674008146

Harvard University Press. 2002

What is the role of law in a society in which order is maintained mostly through social norms, trust, and nonlegal sanctions? Eric Posner argues that social norms are sometimes desirable yet sometimes odious, and that the law is critical to enhancing good social norms and undermining bad ones. But he also argues that the proper regulation of social norms is a delicate and complex task, and that current understanding of social norms is inadequate for guiding judges and lawmakers. What is needed, and what this book offers, is a model of the relationship between law and social norms. The model shows that people's concern with establishing cooperative relationships leads them to engage in certain kinds of imitative behavior. The resulting behavioral patterns are called social norms.

Posner applies the model to several areas of law that involve the regulation of social norms, including laws governing gift-giving and nonprofit organizations

family law

criminal law

laws governing speech, voting, and discrimination

and contract law. Among the engaging questions posed are: Would the legalization of gay marriage harm traditional married couples? Is it beneficial to shame criminals? Why should the law reward those who make charitable contributions? Would people vote more if non-voters were penalized? The author approaches these questions using the tools of game theory, but his arguments are simply stated and make no technical demands on the reader.

Law and Happiness
ISBN: 0226676013

University of Chicago Press. 2010

Since the earliest days of philosophy, thinkers have debated the meaning of the term happiness and the nature of the good life. But it is only in recent years that the study of happiness—or “hedonics”—has developed into a formal field of inquiry, cutting across a broad range of disciplines and offering insights into a variety of crucial questions of law and public policy.

Law and

Happinessbrings together the best and most influential thinkers in the field to explore the question of what makes up happiness—and what factors can be demonstrated to increase or decrease it. Martha Nussbaum offers an account of the way that hedonics can productively be applied to psychology, Cass R. Sunstein considers the unexpected relationship between happiness and health problems, Matthew Adler and Eric A. Posner view hedonics through the lens of cost-benefit analysis, David A. Weisbach considers the relationship between happiness and taxation, and Mark A. Cohen examines the role crime—and fear of crime—can play in people’s assessment of their happiness, and much more.

The result is a kaleidoscopic overview of this increasingly prominent field, offering surprising new perspectives and incisive analyses that will have profound implications on public policy.

The Limits of International Law
ISBN: 0195314174

Oxford University Press. 2006

International law is much debated and discussed, but poorly understood. Does international law matter, or do states regularly violate it with impunity? If international law is of no importance, then why do states devote so much energy to negotiating treaties and providing legal defenses for their actions? In turn, if international law does matter, why does it reflect the interests of powerful states, why does it change so often, and why are violations of international law usually not punished?
In this book, Jack Goldsmith and Eric Posner argue that international law matters but that it is less powerful and less significant than public officials, legal experts, and the media believe. International law, they contend, is simply a product of states pursuing their interests on the international stage. It does not pull states towards compliance contrary to their interests, and the possibilities for what it can achieve are limited. It follows that many global problems are simply unsolvable.
The book has important implications for debates about the role of international law in the foreign policy of the United States and other nations. The authors see international law as an instrument for advancing national policy, but one that is precarious and delicate, constantly changing in unpredictable ways based on non-legal changes in international politics. They believe that efforts to replace international politics with international law rest on unjustified optimism about international law's past accomplishments and present capacities.

Cost-Benefit Analysis: Economic, Philosophical, and Legal Perspectives
ISBN: 0226007634

University of Chicago Press Journals. 2001

Cost-benefit analysis is a widely used governmental evaluation tool, though academics remain skeptical. This volume gathers prominent contributors from law, economics, and philosophy for discussion of cost-benefit analysis, specifically its moral foundations, applications and limitations.

This new scholarly debate includes not only economists, but also contributors from philosophy, cognitive psychology, legal studies, and public policy who can further illuminate the justification and moral implications of this method and specify alternative measures.

These articles originally appeared in the Journal of Legal Studies.

Contributors:
- Matthew D. Adler - Gary S. Becker
- John Broome - Robert H. Frank
- Robert W. Hahn - Lewis A. Kornhauser
- Martha C. Nussbaum - Eric A. Posner
- Richard A. Posner - Henry S. Richardson
- Amartya Sen - Cass R. Sunstein
- W. Kip Viscusi


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