In this chapter we establish our "simple" question: just how does one do doctrine? That is exactly what we are on about in this book. Here we wish neither to praise nor to criticize doctrine but to reveal and, with some luck, refine those conceptual and rhetorical operations we legal professionals perform with doctrine. We want to make the crucial doctrinal operations explicit, show how they work, how they shape the law that emerges. The aim is thus to develop a more systematic understanding of the doctrinal moves many of us already make intuitively. Throughout this book, doctrinal arguments found in briefs and judicial opinions are very much patterned. Some of those patterns can be traced to the substantive subject (e.g., torts) and its various concerns (e.g., the correction of wrongs, the regulation of risk). That is not our topic. Some of the patterns, however, comes from the character of doctrine itself as a form of law. It is the latter that we focus upon here.
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