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Derrida and the philosophy of law and justice

Glendinning, Simon (2016) Derrida and the philosophy of law and justice. Law and Critique, 27 (2). pp. 187-203. ISSN 0957-8536

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Identification Number: 10.1007/s10978-016-9183-2


Readings of Derrida’s work on law and justice have tended to stress the distinction between them. This stress is complicated by Derrida’s own claim that it is not ‘a true distinction’. In this essay I argue that ordinary experiences of the inadequacy of existing laws do indeed imply a claim about what would be more just, but that this claim only makes sense insofar as one can appeal to another more adequate law (whether the projection of a new law or an existing ‘higher’ law). Exploring how Derrida negotiates a subtle path between classical Platonism and classical conventionalism about justice, the attempt is made to take seriously Derrida’s aim to affirm the idea of a ‘mystical’ foundation of the authority of laws by taking ‘the use of the word “mystical” in what I venture to call a rather Wittgensteinian direction’.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2016 The Author © CC BY 4.0
Divisions: European Institute
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
K Law > K Law (General)
Date Deposited: 18 Apr 2016 11:28
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 02:23

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