'On the Study Methods of Our Time': Methodologies of Law and Literature in the Context of Interdisciplinary Studies

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The Anglo-American claim prominent in Law and Literature for decades by now is that reading literature can help mitigate the disciplinary tendencies of legal education because that is characterized by a methodology of reading texts instrumentally, i.e. for purposes of analysis and finding ‘the right answer’ only. On the view that literary challenges will provide lawyers with new insights and will motivate them into doing law in more reflective, more ethical ways, literature and law/legal theory have been juxtaposed in the law school curriculum. Given the institutional and scholarly successes of Law and Literature, law has obviously negotiated a relationship to literature. The salient question would then be whether or not law has an edifying aspect for literature. If literature is a storehouse of topics and claims of meaning to law, what is law to literature? To me, these are questions concerning reciprocity and the possibility of integration. And in what way do the answers to these questions relate to cultural knowledge as a whole and our other interdisciplinary forays in the totality of sciences and arts? I aim to investigate these and other questions of methodology precisely because ‘the study methods of our time’ are located in interdisciplinary settings (I borrow the title of one of Giambattisto Vico’s works on methodology given his ideas on a humanist education, important as I claim they still are for interdisciplinary studies). Starting from the criteria in the definition of beauty that Thomas Aquinas gave us (clarity, consistency and integrity), I arrive at a suggestion for a feasible methodology for the interdisciplinary enterprise on the basis of philosophical hermeneutics (including, but not limited to, Paul Ricoeur’s model of mimesis).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIntersections of Law and Culture
EditorsP Gisler, S Steinert Borella, C Wiedmer
Place of PublicationBasingstoke UK
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Research programs

  • SAI 2010-01 RRL
  • SAI 2010-01.IV RRL sub 4


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