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European Philosophy and The Law (2 Part Course)

Lecturers: Andrea Leon, Cameron Shingleton, Bryan Cooke, Connal Parsley and Ed Mussawir

Originally Taught: Summer School 2011

Week One

"The Justice that cannot be said" – Andrea Leon-Monterro (MSCP) will examine the relationship between social systems of law and the idea of justice in the thought of Emmanuel Levinas. Levinas' whole approach is to think of the social aspect of the law as being necessarily outside, or indeed beyond, justice as ethically conceived. The resultant concept of justice is a negative one that denies and acts to counterpose the self-satisfaction of any positive exercise of the power of the state in post-industrial democratic societies. The lecture will attempt to bring out an answer to a key question: how can we understand Levinas' notion of a "justice that cannot be said"?

"Niklas Luhmann's Sociology of Law" – Bryan Cooke (MSCP) will introduce Luhmann's controversial approach to law as a social system. The uniqueness of Luhmann's sociology of law – Mr Cooke will argue – lies in his attempt not only to locate law within a given theoretical model of modern society, but also in his efforts to account for the perspective of law as a self-creating ("autopoietic") social system – one that is both reliant upon though simultaneously closed off from the total social environment in which it is embedded.

"Weimar: The Jurisprudence of Exception" – Matt Sharpe (Deakin University, MSCP) will begin with a look at Carl Schmitt's influential authoritarian critique of liberalism and the rule of law, and his defence of legal exceptionalism. What will follow this is an examination of two of Schmitt's social democratic students and critics: Otto Kirchheimer's work on National Socialist jurisprudence and Franz Neumann's qualified defence of the rule of law as necessary but not sufficient for political freedom.

Week 2

"Max Weber's Sociology of Law" – Cameron Shingleton (MSCP) will look at the importance of law for Weber's theory of the development of modern capitalism and provide a reflection about the relationship between law and ethics as a light aperitif.

"Some Ideas of Law in Agamben" – Connal Parsley (Melbourne Law School) on some figurations of law in the work of Giorgio Agamben, and the jurisprudential texture of Agamben's writing.

"Doing Jurisprudence with Deleuze" – Ed Mussawir (Griffith Law School) on the sense in which Deleuze's philosophy asks the question "what is jurisprudence?"