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From Newtons Sleep Joseph Vining

From Newtons Sleep

Joseph Vining

Published December 29th 1996
ISBN : 9780691029245
Paperback
416 pages
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 About the Book 

What does the presence of law say of the beliefs of individuals in a society - their actual beliefs, about language, themselves, the world around them? In this strikingly original work, Joseph Vining invites us to utterly reconsider what we think weMoreWhat does the presence of law say of the beliefs of individuals in a society - their actual beliefs, about language, themselves, the world around them? In this strikingly original work, Joseph Vining invites us to utterly reconsider what we think we know about law. For a century now, certainly since 1897 when Oliver Wendell Holmes insisted that law must finally be reducible to a phenomenon in quantitative relations to its causes and effects, the conception of law as consisting essentially of rules or processes has dominated analysis in the Anglo-American world. Vining takes vigorous issue with this and all other forms of mechanical reductionism, particularly in the sciences, where he opposes the materialist attempt to see life as mere physical process, expressible by a single mathematical description of forces. But he is equally concerned to combat the post-structuralist contention, in the humanities, that valid truth claims are illusory, and that legal behavior is to be explained as a function of power relationships. Law, Vining argues, constitutes an autonomous form of thought. It does not derive its authority, as many authors have supposed, from some logically prior discipline, whether physics, economics, or philosophy, these ultimately depend on law itself, in its fundamental expression of human intellect and purpose. Law, he holds, is inseparably connected to everything in the world that goes to make up personal identity and meaning. The fragmentary form of the book mirrors its subject. Arranged in eight sections, it consists of brief commentaries, aphorisms, vignettes, poems, and dialogues - what Vining calls amplifications of an implied text arising from the most basic facts ofhuman activity- keeping faith, reasoning, intending, promising and forgiving, the giving of life and the taking of it. This living text supports the way we know ourselves and other persons, all speaking in their turn through law as law connects language to person, and person t