Universal Jurisprudence and the Case for Legal Humanism
AbstractThis article was given by the author as the 2000 Bowker Lecture at the University of Alberta, Faculty of Law. The author explores an interdisciplinary approach to legal theory by incorporating elements of law, political philosophy, and literature in a globalized, post-modern setting. He begins by stating although there is presently a crisis in legal theory, such a crisis can be resolved through the creation of a distinct legal humanism which "can emerge from the dying embers of post-modernism." The author then examines the works of Wordsworth, Coleridge, Nietzsche, Lyotard, Derrida, Heidegger, Leibniz, Shelley, and Eliot, in order to reconceptualize the notions of humanity and human rights as understood in legal humanism. It is only through such a reconceptualization, he argues, that a universal jurisprudence faithful to the ideals of justice, charity, and sympathy can be finally brought to fruition.
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