Swansea University - patterson_dennis

Professor Dennis Patterson

Specialist Subjects: Legal Theory, Wittgenstein, International Trade

Professor of Jurisprudence and International Trade

Research Interests

My work in international trade concerns the foundations of trade law and the relationship of the global trading order to larger political ideas and institutions.  In jurisprudence, I focus on the intersection between legal philosophy and the later work of Wittgenstein.


Recent Publications



Michael S. Pardo & Dennis Patterson, Minds, Brains, and Law: The Conceptual Foundations of Law and Neuroscience, Oxford University Press, (2013)

The New Global Trading Order : The Evolving State and the Future of Trade (with Ari Afilalo), Cambridge University Press (2008)

Diritto e Verità (translation of Law and Truth), Giuffré, Milano, in preparation (2007)

Edited Books and Textbooks

Meaning, Mind and Law (Collected Essays with Introduction), Ashgate Publishing (2008)

The Commercial Sales Transaction: An Introduction to the U.C.C. (with Richard Hyland), West Publishing (2d ed., 2006)

Wittgenstein and Law, Ashgate Publishing (2004)

Blackwell Anthology in Legal Theory, Blackwell (2003)

Articles and Chapter Contributions

Alexy on Necessity in Law and Morals, (2012)

Minds, Brains and Norms (with Michael Pardo), Neuroethics (Symposium Issue), forthcoming, (2010)
Rethinking “International Law”, Jotwell.Com, April 26, 2010

Philosophical Foundations of Law and Neurosciecne (with Michael Pardo), 2010 Illinois Law Review 1211 (2010)
Postmodernism, in Blackwell Companion of the Philosophy of Law and Legal Theory, 2d ed Edition (Dennis Patterson ed.) (2010)
Statecraft ,Trade and Strategy: Toward a New Global Order (with Ari Afilalo), in Theorising the Global Legal Order 125 – 144 (Andrew Halpin and Volker Roeben, eds.), Hart Publishing (2009)

After Conceptual Analysis: The Rise of Practice Theory, (2009)
Disaccordo teroico e interpretazione, Ars Interpretandi (Annuario di Ermeneutica Giuridica) XIV, 65 - 78 (2009)
Statecraft, Trade and Strategy: Toward a New Global Order (with Ari Afilalo), 2 Int. J of Private Law 269 – 289 (2009) , also in The Dynamics of Trade (Sylvia M. Kierkegaard ed.), Proceedings of the International Association of IT Lawyers, 82 – 96 (2008)
From Conceptual Analysis to a Practice Theory of Law, in Concepts in Law (Jaap Hage and Dietmar Von Der Pfordten, eds) Springer (2009); Also published in Philosophy in American Law (J. Mootz ed.), Cambridge University Press (2008)
On the Conceptual and the Empirical - A Critique of John Mikhail's Cognitivism , (Symposium on A Cross-Disciplinary Look at Scientific Truth), 73 Brook. L. Rev. 1053 (2007-2008)
Twining's Complaint, University of Miami International & Comparative Law Review, 15, 2007, 61-67.

Moral Evaluation and Conceptual Analysis in Jurisprudential Methodology (with John Oberdiek), in Legal Philosophy, Ross Harrison ed., Oxford University Press (2007)

Law and Argument, 2 Acta Methodologica (Interpretazione Giurdica e Retorica Forense) 151 - 161 (Maurizio Manzin & Paolo Sommaggio eds., Guiffré, Milano, 2006)

Dworkin on the Semantics of Legal and Political Concepts, 26 Oxford J. Legal Studies 545-557 (2006)

Wittgenstein on Understanding and Interpretation (Comments on the work of Thomas Morawetz), 29 Philosophical Investigations 129-139 (2006)

Notes on the Methodology Debate in Contemporary Jurisprudence: Why Sociologists Might Be Interested, in Law and Sociology 254-258 Michael Freeman ed., Oxford University Press (2006)

Statecraft, Trade, and the Order of States (with Ari Afilalo), 6 University of Chicago Journal of International Law 725 - 759 (Winter, 2006)

Wittgenstein and Jurisprudence: Prolegomenon To Any Future Legal Theory, Law and Social Justice 231-237 (Joseph Keim Campbell, Michael O'Rourke, & David Shier, eds., 2005, MIT Press)

Cognitivism, in Encyclopedia of Law and Society: American and Global Perspectives, Sage Publications (2005)

Determinism, in Encyclopedia of Law and Society: American and Global Perspectives, Sage Publications (2005)

Interpretation in Law, 42 U. San Diego Law Review 685 (2005) (Symposium Issue devoted to Legal Interpretation).

Also published in Diritto e questioni pubbliche, v. 4, 241-259 (2005): http://www.dirittoequestionipubbliche.org/D_Q-4/index.htm

Spanish translation forthcoming in Colección de Estudios Jurídicos Mario Alario D’Filipo (ISSN: 0123-5133) No. XI (2006)

Aspirations, 36 Rutgers Law Journal 163-164 (Inauguration of Rutgers (Camden) Institute for Law and Philosophy), 2004

Preface to Wittgenstein and Legal Theory (Dennis Patterson ed., 2004)

Nonsense, 81 Texas Law Review 841 (2003) (Review Essay)(Reviewing: Vincent Descombes, The Mind’s Provisions: A Critique of Cognitivism, Princeton University Press (Stephen A. Schwartz, trans., 2001); Anthony G. Amsterdam & Jerome E. Bruner, Minding The Law, Harvard University Press (2000); Steven L. Winter, A Clearing In The Forest, Law, Life and Mind, University of Chicago Press (2001))

From Postmodernism To Truth In Law, 26 Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy 101 (2003)

American Jurisprudence: 1970-Present, in Oxford Dictionary of American Law, Oxford University Press (Kermit L. Hall ed. 2002)

Commercial Law, in Oxford Dictionary of American Law, Oxford University Press (Kermit L. Hall ed. 2002)

Statute of Frauds, in Oxford Dictionary of American Law, Oxford University Press (Kermit L. Hall ed. 2002)

What Is at Stake in Jurisprudence?, Endowed Lecture, 20 Oklahoma City University Law Review 173 (2003)

Normativity and Objectivity in Law, 43 William and Mary Law Review 325 (2001) (reprinted in Wittgenstein and Law (Dennis Patterson, ed., 2004)


Statecraft, Trade and the Order of States, Columbia University, School of Law, New York, April 17, 2007

Legal Methodology and Law as a Normative Practice (2 Lectures), University of Palermo, Palermo, Sicily, Italy, March 7, 2007

On the Conceptual and the Empirical: Matters of Sense and Matters of Truth, Brooklyn Law School, A Cross-Disciplinary Look at Scientific Truth: What’s the Law to Do?, Center for the Study of Law, Language and Cognition, March 2, 2007

The Methodology Debate in Legal Theory: What is At Stake and Why It Is Important, University College London, Faculty of Laws, October 25, 2006

Raz on Authority, Oxford/UCL Colloquium in Legal Theory, University College, London, October 16, 2006

Raz on Authority, Princeton University, Department of Politics, Celebrating the Twentieth Anniversary of Joseph Raz, The Morality of Freedom, October, 2006

States and Trade in the 21st Century, Universität Erlangen, Erlangen, Germany, June 1, 2006

The Future of the Methodology Debate in Analytic Jurisprudence, Institut Universitaire de France, Paris, March 17, 2006

Statecraft, Trade, and the Order of States (with Ari Afilalo), Boston University School of Law, September 2005

Anglo-American Jurisprudence: Current Controversies, Universities of Padova and Verona, Italy, April and May 2005

Statecraft, Trade, and the Order of States (with Ari Afilalo), Brooklyn Law School, February 2005

Chair and Speaker, Association of American Law School, Panel on Law and Foreign Affairs, with Philip Bobbitt, Samuel Issacheroff, Sanford Levinson and Akhil Amar , San Francisco, California, January 2005

Morawetz, Methodology and Legal Theory, Panel Discussion with Thomas Morawetz, Author of Law’s Premises, Law’s Promise, American Philosophical Association, Eastern Division Meetings, Boston, Massachusetts, December 2004

Trade in the Post-Modern Age (with Ari Afilalo), Conference on the WTO at the Crossroads, Bar-Ilan University, Tel Avi, Israel, December 2004

Dworkin on the Semantics of Legal and Political Concepts, University of Pennsylvania, Legal Theory Workshop, October 2004

Methodology in Legal Theory, Conference on Law and Sociology, University College London, London, September 2004

Anglo-American Jurisprudence: Our Current Disagreements and Rechtspositivismus, Ruhr Universität Bochum, April 2004

Interpretation in Law, The Law Faculties at Palermo and Rome (Luiss Guido Carli University), Italy, January 2004

Postmodernism and Law, The Law Faculties at Genoa, Bologna, and Palermo, Italy, January 2004

Legal Interpretation, University of Southampton, Law Faculty, December 2003

Legal Interpretation, Oxford University, Oxford University Legal Theory Discussion Group, Trinity College, Oxford, December 2003

Law and Objectivity, Invited Speaker on discussion of Objectivity in Law, Law and Society, Annual Meeting, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, June 2003

Relevant Activities 


General Editor

Series: Principles and Theory of Law

Oxford University Press

New York and Oxford


Board of Editors, Legal Theory

Board of Editors, The Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence

Board of Editors, Ratio Juris

Board of Directors, Research Center for Legal Methodology (CERMEG) (Trento, Italy)

General Information

J.D.; Ph.D. (Buffalo), Member of the New York Bar

TEL: +44 (0)
FAX: +44 (0) 1792 295855
E-MAIL: D.M.Patterson@swansea.ac.uk

Courses Taught