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Mark G. Kelman
James C. Gaither Professor of Law and Vice Dean

Biography 

A prolific scholar whose jurisprudential interests range from law and economics to cognitive psychology, Mark G. Kelman has applied social science approaches to diverse legal fields including criminal law, taxation, administrative regulation, and disability law. His most recent book, The Heuristics Debate (Oxford University Press, 2011), focuses on disputes about the fundamental nature of heuristic reasoning associated, respectively, with the heuristics and biases school and the fast and frugal heuristics school. He is especially concerned with the implications of these debates for a wide variety of issues of both legal theory and policy (ranging from questions about whether values are commensurable or the ordinary tendency to spend more willingly to rescue identifiable victims than to prevent "statistical" lives from being lost is defensible to controversies over the efficacy of distinct forms of criminal sanctions). He has also been engaged in a substantial experimental research project on moral reasoning, and has begun to explore how surgeons come to recommend particular procedures when the costs and benefits of the procedures are difficult to commensurate, a project that bridges his ongoing interests in how people actually make decisions and his interests in normative philosophy. In addition to being a longtime teacher of both criminal law and property to first-year students, he has served as the academic coordinator, academic associate dean, and, currently, vice dean at the law school. Before joining the Stanford Law School faculty in 1977, Professor Kelman was the director of criminal justice projects for the Fund for the City of New York.