Intersubjectivity and Decision Makers’ Morality: Imagining Future with Lévinas, Feminism and Early Islamic Societies
Ekaterina Yahyaoui Krivenko
Irish Centre for Human Rights
May 23, 2010
Objectivity and impartiality constitute the basis of Western legal structure and thought. We all, whether lawyers or not, assume we know what these two notions mean. And even if sometimes we cannot find words to explain how an impartial and objective decision maker looks like, we will be certain to recognize absence of objectivity when we encounter it. Furthermore, we all also assume that these values of impartiality and objectivity are a very valuable and laudable if not the best possible foundation for a legal system.
This book starts with an inquiry into meanings and understandings of impartiality and objectivity in Western legal culture. This inquiry will show us that in reality there are many uncertainties, questions and shortcomings surrounding our definitions and interpretations of these values. As a consequence, the need is ascertained to search for different vision of structure and functioning of legal systems which while ensuring the closest possible approximation to just outcomes is able to overturn and leave behind all the shortcomings of the traditional Western vision of objectivity.
The next part of the book analyses three non-traditional visions of structure and functioning of legal systems: Firstly, I turn to some ideas on legal system expressed in the philosophical though of Emmanuel Lévinas. Secondly, I address feminist legal theories and their critique of traditional legal though. Finally, I present functioning and structure of early Islamic legal culture of about the 8th century.
Based on insights gained from these three sources I make suggestions aimed at formation of a more adequate vision of decision-making and functioning of legal systems more generally. I also explain how this vision can be incorporated into modern Western societies palliating shortcomings of the traditionally understood objectivity.
Keywords: Decision-Making, Objectivity, Impartiality, Lévinas, Feminism, Islamic Law
Date posted: May 23, 2010