Transcending the discovery-justification dichotomy

MacLean, James (2012) Transcending the discovery-justification dichotomy International Journal for the Semiotics of Law - Revue internationale de Sémiotique juridique, 25, (1), pp. 123-141. (doi:10.1007/s11196-011-9244-7).


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This essay examines judicial decision-making from the perspective of Whiteheadian 'process philosophy'. As such, it seeks to demonstrate how the explanatory categories of process thought can be applied to law and legal reasoning in such a way as to expose the nature of the processes that constitute their development. The essay begins with a description of the judicial task drawn from contemporary theorising about legal argumentation, identified in terms of the separation of contexts of decisionmaking: discovery and justification. In light of this discussion, the essay then adopts Whiteheadian terminology to provide the basis for an alternative understanding and description of the way that a discrete instance of judicial decision-making develops and is maintained within the decision-making process. In this way, independent of any debate over the separation of contexts, the essay seeks not only to expose and unpack the otherwise hidden micro-processes that contribute to and constitute a legal decision but also, by utilising the same conceptual categories of Whiteheadian process thought, to provide a coherent and consistent account of the macro-processes more commonly observed on the level of law as a social realty. The essay argues that the explanatory power of the categoreal scheme of process thought provides a better tool for understanding these relations on all levels.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1007/s11196-011-9244-7
ISSNs: 0952-8059 (print)
Organisations: Southampton Law School
ePrint ID: 199501
Date :
Date Event
Date Deposited: 18 Oct 2011 11:22
Last Modified: 18 Apr 2017 01:28
Further Information:Google Scholar

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