Preface to the Online Edition
Paradox of Self-Amendment Table of Contents
On the content and conclusions of this book, I have nothing to add to the print edition. However, since it was published in 1990, I have been embarrassed by its large number of typographical errors. I vowed to reprint the book with corrections and I am very happy to fulfill that vow in this web edition.
The typographical errors in the print edition are entirely my responsibility. Peter Lang produced the book from camera-ready copy that I printed myself. I don't have an excuse but I do have a story. The final version of the manuscript was due just as classes were starting for the 1989 academic year. I knew that the preceding summer would be my last chance to polish the prose and correct any errors. I also knew that I'd spend the summer in Maine away from my computer. So I printed the manuscript and took the printout on my vacation. I remember scrutinizing every page with care, marking in pencil a huge number of typographical errors, correcting a large number of inelegant expressions, and deepening the analysis at many points.
The printout was more than 1,000 pages and would not fit in my carry-on luggage. That is, it would not fit easily. Today I would carry it lashed to my torso with rope if I could get through security with it. But at the time I put it in my suitcase. When we landed, USAir told me that it had lost my suitcase.
The manuscript was due in two weeks. I was fairly sure my suitcase would turn up in a day or two and that I could incorporate my summer's worth of corrections into my disk files in plenty of time. That's why I didn't drop everything, make a new printout, and try to duplicate my summer labors.
USAir took six weeks to find my suitcase. Meantime I sent Peter Lang a version of the manuscript hastily skimmed and corrected in the last day or two available to me. When the book appeared in 1990, I wasn't surprised to find surviving typographical errors, but I was embarrassed.
Apart from fixing typographical errors, I have made virtually no changes to the text. I may make more substantive changes in the future, but if I do, I will label them clearly as revisions.
If I thought that the print edition still had readers, I would make two additions to this web site: (1) an enhanced version of the index to the print edition and (2) a list of the known typographical errors in the print edition. But for now I'll skip these.
My essay-length synopsis of the book was delivered as a lecture before the book was published and appeared in print after the book was published. It too is now available on the web, The Paradox of Self-Amendment in American Constitutional Law, Stanford Literature Review, 7, 1-2 (Spring-Fall 1990) pp. 53-78. I wrote it at the invitation of Jean-Pierre Dupuy and Gunther Teubner for a conference at Stanford University on "Paradoxes of Self-Reference in the Humanities, Law, and the Social Sciences." I remain grateful to them for their early confidence in my project.
The research for the book is thorough up to 1982, when I finished the first two drafts and took a job far from a large law library. Between 1982 and the book's appearance in 1990, I did only a small amount of additional research. The book went out of print in 1997, and I put this electronic edition online in May 1998.
This online edition corrects all the typographical errors known to me from the print edition. If you discover any that remain, I hope you will let me know. Thanks, Peter.