Guide Songs without Music: Aesthetic Dimensions of Law and Justice

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This is not just seen in the literary devices of judges or the architecture of the court or the trial, but suffuses all legal practice and judgement. A committed pluralist, Manderson finds an aesthetic basis for the diversity of legal regimes. This robust theory of aesthetics owes most to George Santayana: it includes symbols and sensory force, shared culture and personal experience. The important message of this work is that we can still make judgements while concentrating on the surface.

These are aesthetic judgements with practical consequences throughout law and legal scholarship. Manderson makes aesthetics do a lot of work. It carries the burden well, if better in some areas than others. Methodologically, the aesthetics of law helps to explain many legal phenomena, and becomes a valuable perspective to guide research. As a foundation for legal reasoning or justice, aesthetics is up against a long tradition of alternatives. This book is a useful contribution to the rehabilitation of a pre- or post- Kantian conception of aesthetic reasoning which does not relegate such judgements to the realm of taste.

Its somewhat hasty move from an aesthetics of law to one of justice in the final chapter would benefit from a broader appreciation of its place in this project. In a book sparkling with a breadth of sources and illustrations without pictures , the musical and literary sources work better than those from science or its history.

The celebration of chaos theory as a metaphor for a critical pluralism is more confusing than instructive.

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A book on law and aesthetics devoting more attention to music than to visual arts or literature would in itself be a valuable corrective to previous studies. This book achieves much more by proposing, with beautiful clarity, a way of approaching law through aesthetics which allows for pluralism with judgement, and for reason with feeling. The musical theme reinforces the message of the text by drawing down the visceral impact of music into legal discourse.

Notes 1. Manderson does not only choose easy targets. Related Papers. By Luis Gomez Romero. By James Parker. What her interpretation ignores, however, is that, for Derrida, no concept can ever be so fully secured with determinate meaning such that it could become so privileged. In a move that mirrors their dominant conceptualization in Western society, Derrida positions justice as singularity in opposition to a more generalized law.

Peter Fitzpatrick 30 explains. A similar irresolution exists in relation to invention.

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To be otherwise would make its recognition as invention impossible. Invention thus needs to be with law in order to be inventive. Just as invention needs law, so too does law need invention in order to remain properly commanding in Western society. To be just, the decision of the judge, for example, must not only follow a rule of law or a general law [ loi ] but must also assume it, approve it, confirm its value, by a reinstituting act of interpretation, as if, at the limit, the law [ loi ] did not exist previously — as if the judge himself invented it in each case.

It must be singular, complete and containable. Law and jazz thus coalesce in the irresolution of the improvised act. Quite the opposite. It contains the danger, if you will, of becoming fully determined law. For if improvisation were truly possible, in the sense of being wholly improvised or original, there would be no call for spontaneous invention or, by analogy, for jazz.

In its failure, improvisation survives. This article owes much to the support, guidance and intellectual inspiration of Professor Peter Fitzpatrick. Deep appreciation must also be conveyed to Bhaljit Dhadda, Andrew Laking, George Laking, Sundhya Pahuja and my colleagues at the Birkbeck School of Law Postgraduate Student Conference , all of whom were invaluable in their feedback and encouragement. Lastly, this work would not have been possible without the stimulating comments and direction offered by the anonymous reviewers and the editors of this journal. This anecdote, recounted by Coleman before the concert see Murphy , inspired Derrida to recite the following onstage:.

Soul and the music of the soul, what is it? What does it mean? How do we recognise it, soul? Beyond all the psycho-theologico-spiritualist discourse? It was a very unhappy event. According to Steve Lake, writer for Wire magazine:. A certain note sequence might set up its own momentum when explored more thoroughly. Or, more vaguely still, the player might choose to focus on what he considers the feeling of the melody. Lake, emphasis in original. In an interview with Derrida on 23 June , Coleman explains:. And yet, when you hear it, it has a completely improvised feel [ air ]. Murphy His answer?

One may be obliged to employ such words when describing deconstruction, but the spectre of this warning necessarily haunts each use. The other is whatever resists, escapes definition whenever definition is put in place.

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Recognition of the other opens the ethical dimension of deconstruction which consists in opening, uncloseting, destabilizing foreclusionary structures so as to allow passage toward the other. No culturally based directive, but the other appealing to me very concretely. No laws of tolerance, hospitality or acceptance but my singular relationship to a singular other.

Deconstruction can be thought of as a reading and writing strategy that takes notice of traces of the other, of the unthought, the invisible, the unheard without absorbing, assimilating or reducing it to the same to the cognitive power of the knowing subject or self-consciousness. The entire history of jazz can be heard as one colossal improvisation defining what improvisation can be: jazz is one answer to the question, What is improvisation? Getting this definition into words, however, or between the covers of a book requires either trickery or violence. When we write about improvisation, what are we really writing about?

Jarrett One question I thought of is: why are so many listeners being fooled? Personal Communication, 20 June However, it will be the sole focus here. No mention is made of this meeting in any interviews I have read prior to this date. To my mind, the origin of music should not be sought in linguistic communication.

Of course, the drum and song have long been carriers of linguistic meaning. But there is no convincing theory of music as language. The attempts that have been made in that direction are no more than camouflages for the lamest kind of naturalism or the most mundane kind of pedantry.

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The musical message has no meaning, even if one artificially assigns a necessarily rudimentary signification to certain sounds, a move that is almost always associated with a hierarchical discourse. Attali June Allsop, Kenneth. Anidjar, Gil. Acts of Religion. Gil Anidjar. New York and London: Routledge, Attali, Jacques. Noise: The Political Economy of Music. Brian Massumi. Minneapolis and London: U of Minnesota P, Attridge, Derek. Acts of Literature. Derek Attridge. Attridge, Derek and Thomas Baldwin. Bailey, Derek.

Improvisation: Its Nature and Practice in Music. Second Edition. New York: Da Capo Press, Belay, Boris. London: MacMillan, Belgrad, Daniel. Chicago and London: U of Chicago P, Bennington, Geoffrey. Jacques Derrida. Geoffrey Bennington. Berliner, Paul. Bernasconi, Robert. Gary B. Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern UP, Beyer, Jonathon A. Birmingham, Peg. Nancy J. Black, Henry Campbell. Sixth Edition. Paul, Minneapolis: West, Bork, Robert H. Brunette, Peter and David Wills, eds.

Cambridge: Cambridge UP, Bucholtz, Barbara K. Caputo, John D. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana UP, Chang, Jeff. Chevigny, Paul. Chair: Jacqueline Rose. London, England. Cobussen, Marcel. Interactive Online Diss. Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, Cohen, Maxwell T. The Police Card Discord. London and Metuchen, N. Collier, James Lincoln. Jazz: The American Theme Song. Demsey, David. Bill Kirchner. Derrida, Jacques. Deconstruction Engaged: The Sydney Lectures. Paul Patton and Terry Smith. Sydney: Power Publications, Mary Quaintance.

Of Grammatology. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. Robert Knafo. November Monolingualism of the Other; or, The Prosthesis of Origin. Patrick Mensah. Stanford, California: Stanford UP, Timothy S.


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