Byron Kaldis
National Technical University of Athens
This paper presents aphilosophical approach to the semiotics of lawin terms of an exercise in symbolictransposition whereby aesthetic categories arebrought to bear on jurisprudence, and inparticular on two of its foundationalquestions. These questions, the backdropagainst which the analysis unfolds, ask whether law is static or dynamic; and whether law `constitutes' human beings, in somespecific sense, or whether the reverse holds. The notions of universality and necessity andthat of utopia are employed together with twoopposite art symbols and a model of theirantitheses is constructed revealing diverseanswers as to how to conceive law in relationto the two questions. One answer is singled outby adopting the principles of Kantian aesthetic judgement: to elicit an aestheticclaim, law must be seen as a utopian socialorder exhibiting purposiveness without,however, presupposing any predeterminedsubstantive normative end. This is effected bya special reading permitting the combination ofnecessitation with free play – thisbeing the common ground shared by both law andaesthetics but only in this limiting utopianmoment. This is a unique sense in which legaldiscourse is formally assimilated to aestheticnon-purposive judgements yet withoutrelinquishing law's distinctive feature aspurposive order prescribing, however,prescription alone as a formal end.
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DOI 10.1023/b:sela.0000004592.10237.2f
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