Monday, March 16, 2009

Law & Literature. EEUU (2)



Joseph P. Tomain
Creon's ghost: law, justice, and the humanities
Oxford University Press (USA), 2009, 344 pp.
ISBN: 978-0-19-533341-1

Description
Creon's Ghost examines the enduring problem of the relationship between man's law and a "higher" law from the perspective of core humanities texts and through discussion of hotly debated contemporary legal conundrums. Today, such issues as intelligent design in school curricula, same-sex marriage, and faith-based government grants are all examples of the interaction between man's law and some other set of moral principles. As these debates are considered in this book, the author uses texts such as Antigone and Plato's Republic and pairs them with the most important jurisprudence texts of the 20th century to explore different approaches to the contemporary conflict or court ruling under consideration. Creon's Ghost demonstrates that the humanities can both illuminate our understanding of contemporary problems and that "classic" texts can be read alongside jurisprudential texts, thus enriching our understanding of and appreciation for law.


Debate about the separation of law and morality has ancient roots and is still vigorously discussed today. Mostly, the debate has been conducted as a technical problem in jurisprudence or legal philosophy. As a technical, philosophical problem, the arguments are rigorous and tend to be narrow. Creon's Ghost enters the debate from a different angle by discussing the general responses to the problem by pairing stories from the humanities with various contemporary jurisprudential accounts. For example, Chapter 1 pairs Antigone with H. L. A. Hart to illuminate the legal positivist position on how law should be considered separate and apart from morality. Antigone, from which play is taken the text's principal interlocutor-Creon-Tomain develops his themes through the history of the humanities, all the while offering significant connections within the realm of legal scholarship. The major "schools" of jurisprudence are treated at some length-legal positivism, natural law theory, legal realism, legal pragmatism, critical legal studies, et al. The author also presents arguments on why and how law is and should be connected with morality, presenting concepts from Plato's Republic together with Ronald Dworkin to illustrate the claim that law has and should have a moral unity. Creon's Ghost demonstrates that the humanities can both illuminate our understanding of legal discussions and that they can be read alongside jurisprudential texts, thus enriching our understanding of and appreciation for both the humanities and the law.

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