Vanderbilt Law Review


Andrew J. Reck

First Page



Elijah Jordan (1875-1953) was one of the most original social and, legal philosophers in the history of American thought. Jordan spent his life in the midwest, near the rural setting from which he came, serving as professor of philosophy at Butler College in Indianapolis from his appointment in 1913 until his retirement 31 years later. Jordan wrote a half dozen volumes that comprise for American philosophy a unique contribution the full significance of which has still to be measured: The Life of Mind,' Forms of Individuality, Theory of Legislation, The Aesthetic Object, The Good Life Essays in Criticism, and on the eve of his death he was at work on his Metaphysics. Generally neglected and attracting attention only toward the end of his life, Jordan's work has begun to win increasing consideration from philosophers and social thinkers in recent years. In accord with the rising interest in Jordan's philosophy, it is the purpose of this paper (1) to explore this philosophy so far as it bears upon the topic of law and social order and the metaphysics implicated therein, and (2) since Jordan is not widely known, to conduct this exploration as much as possible by letting the philosopher speak for himself through quotations drawn from his writings.