Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



The paradox, "law must be stable and yet it cannot stand still,"expresses one of the basic metaphysical aspects of law. Is law a Being or a Becoming? Some would answer this question by saying that the law is always a Becoming, a part of the eternal flux of human actions and conditions. It is impossible, they may say, to enclose the law in a logical system of norms, however well sanctioned. The important things, then, are the motivations of the persons who effectuate legal change (assuming these persons can be pointed out, which is not always the case) or their justifications for change, their reasons given to others in the community in the form of legal evaluations: policies, principles, or ends-in-view. This view of law is an important one to-day. Never before, I believe, has there been such persistent questioning of a good many legal norms. The Becoming is about to swallow up the Being.