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Administering InterpretationDerrida, Agamben, and the Political Theology of Law$
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Peter Goodrich and Michel Rosenfeld

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780823283798

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823283798.001.0001

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Law against Justice and Solidarity

Law against Justice and Solidarity

Rereading Derrida and Agamben at the Margins of the One and the Many

(p.54) 4 Law against Justice and Solidarity
Administering Interpretation

Michel Rosenfeld

Fordham University Press

Law and justice are in crucial ways against nature as well as against solidarity. As David Hume proclaimed, justice is an “artificial virtue” in contrast to the social bonds of family and community, which are affectively grounded in solidarity and manifestations of mutual sympathy. Law as a self-standing normative order propelled by its own inner logic remains too abstract to command heartfelt internalization or commitment. Moreover, law often stands against justice, as some laws are unjust and full justice ever elusive. Accordingly, difficult questions arise for jurisprudence. Derrida and Agamben confront these difficulties in the context of the nexus between the singular, the universal, and the plural. For Derrida, law cannot achieve justice, as there is tragically no way to reconcile the universal and the singular. For Agamben, in contrast, the gaps become masked by a ceremonial spectacle of religiously inspired harmony and acclamation by those subject to law and an unbridgeable gap between law and administration. This chapter situates and compares Derrida’s deconstruction of law with Agamben’s reconstruction, focusing on whether they complement one another and on whether they point to solutions that may open a way beyond despair or artifice.

Keywords:   deconstruction, justice, plural, reconstruction, singular, spectacle, universal

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