Monday, February 21, 2011

The Court, comprised three judges specialized in defamation and the Public Prosecutor. Being a criminal case within the Inquisitorial System, the case began by my interrogation by the President of the Court. I was essentially asked to explain the reasons for refusing to remove the article.
...The complainant was then subjected to the same procedure after which the lawyers made their (passionate) legal arguments. The Public Prosecutor then expressed her Opinion to the Court. I was allowed the last word. It was a strange mélange of the criminal and civil virtually unknown in the Common Law world. The procedure was less formal, aimed at establishing the truth, and far less hemmed down by rules of evidence and procedure. Due process was definitely served. It was a fair trial.
Here's the historical foundation between philosophical and legal culture in the Anglo American tradition. Most philosophy descends from Continental idealism, regarding both judicial authority and truth itself. "The other" where the subject comes up, is a product of the self-conscious anxiety of the interrogating philosopher/judge. In the adversarial legal and literary world I grew up in the other was an actual person: another lawyer, the prosecutor; a reader; a critic; your husband/wife. But I grew up around lawyers not legal philosophers.
Lawyers are neither priests nor scientists, they're performers.

"The procedure was less formal, aimed at establishing the truth, and far less hemmed down by rules of evidence and procedure."

That's the model of modernist authoritarianism right there, in the origins of modern philosophy.

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