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Valerie Kerruish: The Wrong of Law

The Wrong of Law is a series of studies, of metaphysics, of aspects of modern logic and of law, which work toward conceptualising the limitations of legal normativity. These limitations, it is argued, inhere in a restriction on reflexivity that is dictated by law's claim to constitute its own foundation.

This argument does not fasten on law's violence or injustice as wrong and make a moral or ethical critique of law. Quite to the contrary, it is sceptical of and seeks an alternative to the various ethical turns of recent legal and political theory. The `wrong' of the wrong of law is logical and epistemic in character. It is a failure or refusal to recognise the cognitive relevance of contradictions of self-reference. In this respect The Wrong of Law draws on the theory of dialectic pursued in the Speculative Logic project.

The metaphysical studies are broadly within German transcendental philosophy and its legacies. They are focussed on Hegel's endeavour in Science of Logic to replace all previous metaphysics by a dialectical and speculative logic. The logical studies engage aspects of mathematical logic, mainly the early history of proof theory or metamathematics. The aim of these studies is to establish the sense in which a restriction on reflexivity amounts to a limitation on truth-seeking or comprehension.

The law in question is modern law in the form of the common law of England and its erstwhile 'settled' colonies. The legal studies are focussed on superior court decisions in Australia, mainly in cases where aboriginal people are party to the dispute. Analysis of the reasoning in these cases aims at drawing out the subjectivity of this law.

The thesis of The Wrong of Law is that modern law's self-founding claim disables comprehension of its value and validity. In this respect the wrong of law is a continuation of earlier work on rights fetishism.


Chapter 1. Argument and approach

Part I Metaphysical Studies: The Objectivity of the Illusion

Preface: Scene from a Comedy of Errors

Chapter 2. Hegel's Idea of Thought's Logical Foundation

Chapter 3. Marx's Dialectic of Culture and Society

Part II Logical Studies

Preface: That Other Paradise

Chapter 4. Paths of Surprise

Chapter 5. Opening and Closing through Paradox

PART III Legal Studies: The Wrong of Law

Preface: The Strange God

Chapter 6. Ruins of sovereignty

Chapter 7. Jurisdictions of contempt

Chapter 8. Property, Inequality and Caprice

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