Catastrophe: Plowing Up the Ground of Reason

CATASTROPHE: PLOWING UP THE GROUND OF REASON IN LAW AND CATASTROPHE, Austin Sarat, Lawrence Douglas, Martha Umphrey, eds., Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2007

20 Pages Posted: 19 Jan 2007

See all articles by Linda Ross Meyer

Linda Ross Meyer

Quinnipiac University School of Law

Abstract

This essay discusses whether, as Judith Shklar might argue, catastrophes are better framed as injustices. Rejecting this view, the paper argues for a definition of catastrophes as events that overturn our normative categories themselves. Using the Book of Job as an extended example, the essay argues that our usual responses to catastrophes, denial or nihilism, leave out the possibility of a stance of openness that allows for heroism and grace to appear.

Keywords: catastrophe, injustice, Shklar, Job, grace, 9-11, disaster, nihilism

JEL Classification: K10

Suggested Citation

Meyer, Linda R., Catastrophe: Plowing Up the Ground of Reason. CATASTROPHE: PLOWING UP THE GROUND OF REASON IN LAW AND CATASTROPHE, Austin Sarat, Lawrence Douglas, Martha Umphrey, eds., Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=958289

Linda R. Meyer (Contact Author)

Quinnipiac University School of Law ( email )

275 Mt. Carmel Ave.
Hamden, CT 06518
United States
203-287-3281 (Phone)
203-287-3209 (Fax)

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