The "region" of justice and the undeconstructible bearing of responsibility

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Garth, Scott C.
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Why justice? What do we mean by it? What are its conditions, its bearings? The basic contention of our thesis is that this question is not merely a philosophical one, nor an exclusively legal one, but has to do with our relation to the world, to others, and to ourselves. Taking its start from the phenomenology of Edmund Husserl, our thesis assumes a transcendental trajectory which seeks to distance itself from the transcendent (as something “beyond-experience”), and restore the transcendental as conditions-of-possibility, for this is the analytic forum wherein the “region” of justice begins to reveal itself. As both a method and a philosophy, phenomenology describes and complicates the relation between observer and object such that a merely tactical, or instrumentalist, elaboration of justice (e.g., as reward-and-punishment) insufficiently develops the general conditions through which justice and responsibility relate. By contrast, our transcendental-trajectory will avoid such tactical right-duty correlations, and rather take us on a course leading from justice to responsibility by way of a “parallel” transition from home to other. Conceiving of human right as intimately connected to the field of the political, to morality and society, and to humanity in general, challenges “natural” assumptions regarding right, while also warning us against positivistic and utilitarian appropriations of right. If our general concern claims that justice is human right, it is because resistance embodies both the particular claim-to-justice (as seeking reparation against a wrong, or provision for a right) as well as justice itself (as the distancing/clarifying element mobilising any particular decision or law). As our transcendental analysis is part-and-parcel of this resistance in focusing on the conditions-of-possibility for right, the apparent eclipse of the “relation-to-the-world” so clearly at stake in these “conditions” (and in phenomenology itself), on the contrary, grounds our abiding question and triangulates its appeal in three basic themes: cosmopolitanism, culture- v.-policy, and law-as-an- institution, as each approximates the general elements of right through the global, the psycho-social, and the juridico-ordinal. In desisting from any static calculation of human right, reduced to law or politics alone, the very task of “phenomenological-justice” renders the mobilisation of justice, through its transcendental renewal, the clarified effect of conditions which are bent on realising both the necessity of the political (as the fulcrum of human suffering and enjoyment) and the moral order of our singular responsibility constituted in the liabilities of identity itself (as the pivot of the intimately familiar and disruptively strange).
Second semester University: KU Leuven.
constitutional law, fundamental rights, human rights, international law, justice, philosophy, responsibility