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Title: The Law and 'We'
Author(s): VAN ROERMUND, Bert
Journal: Ethical Perspectives
Volume: 13    Issue: 3   Date: september 2006   
Pages: 525-553
DOI: 10.2143/EP.13.3.2017785

Abstract :
Legislation in Modernity is self-legislation: legislation by a collective self. I argue that it can be formally characterised as a first-person plural intention, featuring an index ‘we’ at four different positions: the originator of the speech act expressing the intention, the subject of the intention expressed, the agent of the action intended, and the beneficiaries of the action to be performed. I carve out these four positions or ‘voices’ of the first person inlegislation, summarising them in an analytical scheme [LEX]. But self-legislation presupposes self-inclusion. Thus, it constitutes a boundary between the plural self and its alien(s). Taking my cue from Waldenfels’ explorations of responsiveness to ‘the alien,’ I ask how and why [LEX] responds to the classical appeal of justice: ‘to give everyonehis or her due.’ What does it mean to say that a self-enclosed ‘we’ is the agent of this giving? I will argue that the boundary constituted by this enclosure is possible only if it is imagined to be traversable. Throughout the argument, my main concern is with the question in what sense and to what extent a legal order requires unity.

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