Paradox and Origin: On the Structure of Legal Communication

Paul Brienza and Naomi Couto


This paper seeks to analyze the nature of legal communication. It does so by examining the nature of paradox and its centrality to legal discourse. Is the paradox something that legal theory must escape? In this paper, we will argue that paradox is a central and defining feature of legal conceptuality; it simply pushes the boundaries of traditional rationality and makes a deeper a more probing analysis possible. Contemporary legal theory, from Legal Realism to Critical Legal Studies, is slowly coming to recognize the importance of this notion. This paper seeks to trace the route of legal paradox, as a figure of text and experience, through the writings of key figures such as Vico, Derrida, and Luhmann. By doing so, it will be shown how paradox forms a lynchpin for all legal communication and structures what we understand as law both in theory and practice.

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International Journal of Criminology and Sociological Theory | ISSN : 1916-2782