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The case for societal constitutionalism
Editor: Diana Göbel
Author: Gunther Teubner

This volume collects and revises the key essays of Gunther Teubner, one of the world’s leading sociologists of law. Written over the past twenty years, these essays examine the ‘dark side’ of functional differentiation and the prospects of societal constitutionalism as a possible remedy. Teubner’s claim is that critical accounts of law and society require reformulation in the light of the sophisticated diagnoses of late modernity in the writings of Niklas Luhmann, Jacques Derrida and select examples of modernist literature. Autopoiesis, deconstruction and other post-foundational epistemological and political realities compel us to confront the fact that fundamental democratic concepts such as law and justice can no longer be based on theories of stringent argumentation or analytical philosophy. We must now approach law in terms of contingency and self-subversion rather than in terms of logical consistency and rational coherence.

The mutual paranoia of Jacques Derrida and Niklas Luhmann
Gunther Teubner

I  System versus différance Niklas Luhmann and Jacques Derrida have made the same diagnosis as regards the sober world of lawyers and economists. 1 Where other people observe rational decisions based on cost–benefit calculations and on rule–fact subsumptions, their diagnosis is that of the madness of decision. In contrast to all analyses of rational choice, games theory

in Critical theory and legal autopoiesis
Contingency or transcendence formula of law?
Gunther Teubner

of justice appears, if at all, as a political, not as a legal project. So is justice itself, the most profound expectation that people have of the law, the blind spot in the distinction between law and society? Two external observers of law and society, Jacques Derrida and Niklas Luhmann, shed light on this blind spot and ask whether there is something specific that the sociology of law – as compared to

in Critical theory and legal autopoiesis
Franz Kafka on the (im)possibility of Law’s self-reflection
Gunther Teubner

nightmarish logic in Kafka's universe? This is not meant to dispute the validity of the individual perspective in its own right. In complementing it, however, our institutional perspective allows very different things to come to the fore in Kafka's world. I am encouraged in my somewhat far-fetched interpretation by Jacques Derrida's whirlwind of associations concerning Kafka, in which he summons literature

in Critical theory and legal autopoiesis
Derrida, Luhmann, Wiethölter
Gunther Teubner

– Jacques Derrida was organising grammatological exercises and Niklas Luhmann kept reducing complexity – Rudolf Wiethölter already had that disquieting phenomenon, the paradox of law, in his sights. 2 When in 1977 he wrote a punctatio in the Festschrift for his academic teacher Gerhard Kegel, consisting of a list of points for and against Kegel's concept of conflict of laws, it was still a nagging

in Critical theory and legal autopoiesis
Andrew Bowie

of thought in language, and such questioning is common to various traditions in contemporary philosophy, connecting such differing thinkers as Derrida and Sellars (see Wheeler 2000). Schelling’s version of the issue of differentiality already pointed the way, as we saw in the comparison with Derrida in Chapter 4, to contemporary questioning of metaphysics (while also suggesting problems in some of that questioning). How, then, does Hegel fit into these versions of the idea of language, music and difference? For Hegel, the relationship between determinate content in

in Aesthetics and subjectivity
Open Access (free)
Art as the ‘organ of philosophy’
Andrew Bowie

the Other, recur in varying ways in modern philosophy.10 Most recently it has been those thinkers who, like Heidegger, Foucault and Derrida, question the nature of the subject in ‘Western metaphysics’, which is seen as being manifested precisely in philosophical systems, the commodity system and in language as a system, who have revived interest in the questions first raised by the tradition at issue in the present book. A central concern for these thinkers is the language of poetry, conceived as a counter to the objectifying language associated with the idea that

in Aesthetics and subjectivity
Abstract only
Sal Renshaw

feminine space of the body and soul. She responds: ‘Not the head. The body. The entrails. Of the soul also’ (1997: 90). And goes on to say that, unlike Jacques Derrida, she lacks a sublime physicist’s intelligence for a curiosity about primitive scenes that elude us. She is not motivated by the desire to fully reveal to herself or others the mysteries of self that elude her, the sources of self that formed and continue to form her. Indeed such desires for unity foreclose for Cixous on the possibility of living in the instant. ‘What Derrida expresses at times is a vital

in The subject of love
Abstract only
Gunther Teubner’s foundational paradox
Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos

At the heart of Gunther Teubner's work, there is a foundational paradox. The work, as attested in this long-awaited collection of Teubner's texts that span several decades, is erudite, expansive, involved with the world and of high theoretical merit. It is populated with references as varied as von Kleist, Derrida, Latour, Kafka and of course Luhmann but also global financial markets, Africa and HIV

in Critical theory and legal autopoiesis
Open Access (free)
Art and interpretation
Andrew Bowie

necessarily involves mediation by the language in which it is articulated. As Samuel Wheeler has suggested, what links Davidson and Derrida, for example, is the rejection of the idea of a grounding ‘presence’ of thing to thought which enables elements of language to be correlated with determinate elements of the world (see Wheeler 2000). Once it is admitted that direct access to a pre-existing determinate reality cannot be established, because that notion itself is a myth, many of the reasons that had previously led to the rejection of the German Idealist and hermeneutic

in Aesthetics and subjectivity