On Legal Positivism’s Word and our ‘Form-of-(non-)Living’

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Abstract

This paper is about two stories. The more reassuring one states that by establishing that a norm is valid because of its source, not its merit, legal positivism is, in its various forms, perhaps one of the greatest achievements in Western legal theory and practice. From constitutionalism to human rights policies, from criminal to international law and free trade agreements, from contracts to torts and e-commerce, legal validity, predictability, and coherence have found their most powerful ally in positivist thought. This contribution argues that it is time for a different, neorealist story: the metaphysical, ontological and biopolitical essence of its language demonstrates that legal positivism has in fact played a fundamental role in the substitution of action with behaviour, and consequently, in the normalisation of humankind’s self-annihilating animality as post-historical and post-political ‘form-of-(non-)living.’
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-241
JournalGlobal Jurist
Volume16
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016

Keywords

  • Legal positivism
  • legal language
  • liberal thought
  • reasons for action
  • Homo juridicus

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