26 September 2018
A Synaesthesia of Language, Logic and Law
By Rostam J. Neuwirth
What do different concepts like true lie, bad luck, honest thief, old news, spacetime, glocalization, symplexity, sustainable development, constant change, soft law, substantive due process, pure law, bureaucratic efficiency and global justice have in common? What connections do they share with innumerable paradoxes, like the ones of happiness, time, globalization, sex, and of free will and fate?
Law in the Time of Oxymora provides answers to these conundrums by critically comparing the apparent rise in recent years of the use of rhetorical figures called "essentially oxymoronic concepts" (i.e. oxymoron, enantiosis and paradoxes) in the areas of art, science and law. Albeit to varying degrees, these concepts share the quality of giving expression to apparent contradictions. Through this quality, they also challenge the scientific paradigm rooted in the dualistic thinking and binary logic that is traditionally used in the West, as opposed to the East, where a paradoxical mode of thinking and fuzzy logic is said to have been cultivated.
Following a review of oxymora and paradoxes in art and various scientific writings, hundreds of "hard cases" featuring oxymora and a comprehensive review of the legal literature are discussed, revealing evidence suggesting that the present scientific paradigm of dualism alone will no longer be able to tackle the challenges arising from increasing diversity and complexity coupled with an apparent acceleration of change. Law in the Time of Oxymora reaches the surprising conclusion that essentially oxymoronic concepts may inaugurate a new era of cognition, involving the ways the senses interact and how we reason, think and make decisions in law and in life.
(Subjects: Law and Language; Oxymoronic Concepts; Cognition and Law)
Social Normativities in Conflict
Edited by Kyriaki Topidi
The complex legal situations arising from the coexistence of international law, state law, and social and religious norms in different parts of the world often include scenarios of conflict between them. These conflicting norms issued from different categories of ‘laws’ result in difficulties in describing, identifying and analysing human rights in plural environments.
This volume studies how normative conflicts unfold when trapped in the aspirations of human rights and their local realizations. It reflects on how such tensions can be eased, while observing how and why they occur. The authors examine how obedience or resistance to the official law is generated through the interaction of a multiplicity of conflicting norms, interpretations and practices. Emphasis is placed on the actors involved in raising or decreasing the tension surrounding the conflict and the implications that the conflict carries, whether resolved or not, in conditions of asymmetric power movements. It is argued that legal responsiveness to state law depends on how people with different identities deal with it, narrate it and build expectations from it, bearing in mind that normative pluralism may also operate as an instrument towards the exclusion of certain communities from the public sphere. The chapters look particularly to expose the dialogue between parallel normative spheres in order for law to become more effective, while investigating the types of socio-legal variables that affect the functioning of law, leading to conflicts between rights, values and entire cultural frames.