I Beg to Differ: Questions about Law, Language and Dissent
LAW, MYSTERY, AND THE HUMANITIES: COLLECTED ESSAYS, Logan Atkinson & Diana Majury, eds., Toronto: University of Toronto Press, Forthcoming
23 Pages Posted: 25 Mar 2007
In this paper, we consider the linking of law and language in the space of the judicial opinion, interested particularly in those insights about law and language that can be gained by focusing attention on the space of judicial dissent. In Section 1, we offer some introductory remarks about language and the operations of force and persuasion in judicial decision-making, turning our attention in Section 2 to the specific practice of judicial dissent. In Section 3, we describe a category of dissenting practices that implicate what could be called a 'noetic' space of judgment, and consider how the resources of language might operate in this space. In Section 4, we examine the deployment of language in majority and dissenting opinions, using Mossop v. Canada (a Canadian same-sex family case) as an example. We suggest that there is much to be learned about dissent and judgment by taking an interdisciplinary approach that draws law and the humanities into closer dialogue.
Keywords: law, humanities, judicial decision making, dissent, language, persuasion, reason, passion, narrative, family, noetic space, rhetorical devices, sexual orientation, Mossop v. Canada, Egan and Nesbitt v. Canada, Reference re Same Sex Marriage
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