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(2011) Prospects of legal semiotics, Dordrecht, Springer.

The problem of the subject(s)

Louis E. Wolcher

pp. 145-169

This essay gives a historical and critical interpretation of the distinction between "ground" and "cause" in Western thought in general, and Western legal thought in particular. It distinguishes two types of "subjects" in contemporary legal discourse—the causal subject and the grounding subject—and describes the essential contradiction or incommensurability between them. The ultimate point of the essay is ethical rather than metaphysical, however, for in the end it will claim that no decision can be made, or hierarchy established, between these two subjects without engaging in bad faith. Any such decision or hierarchy could only succeed in shirking the ethically obligatory task of bearing witness to the essential sadness and tragedy of the world.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-90-481-9343-1_5

Full citation:

Wolcher, L. E. (2011)., The problem of the subject(s), in A. Wagner & J. Broekman (eds.), Prospects of legal semiotics, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 145-169.

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