Cultural Environmentalism and Beyond
17 Pages Posted: 11 Dec 2017
Date Written: March 1, 2007
It is hard to explain how honored I was when Larry Lessig and his colleagues at Stanford organized this conference around some of my ideas — or more accurately, around a set of ideas for which they gave me greater credit than I deserved. This kind of thing generally happens when one is either dead or retiring (I am hoping that the contributors do not have some knowledge I lack about the imminence of either of those events). The event was doubly humbling. The scholars who agreed to write for this volume are a remarkable group whose work I admire greatly, while Larry’s own scholarship and work as a public intellectual are also a great inspiration to me — he is clearly the one whose work deserves a symposium, if anyone’s does.
The contributions to the symposium include four main articles that engage in different ways and degrees with my work and with the idea of cultural environmentalism, commentaries on those articles, and, at the end, two papers that evolved from commentaries but that are no longer directed towards the articles on which they originally commented. I could not hope to respond to everything in the volume point by point, and I am not going to try. Instead, I will offer my own thoughts on the failings, limitations, occasional promise, and possible future of the ideas discussed in this symposium — both the work on cultural environmentalism and the surrounding ideas on authorship, the rhetoric of economic analysis, the structure of intellectual property scholarship, and the jurisprudence of the public domain. Where appropriate, I will try to link my comments back to the individual articles and comments in this symposium.
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