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Rethinking Law and Language

The Flagship ‘Speech’

Jan M. Broekman

The ‘law-language-law’ theme is deeply engraved in Occidental culture, more so than contemporary studies on the subject currently illustrate. This insightful book creates awareness of these cultural roots and shows how language and themes in law can be richer than studying a simple mutuality of motives. Rethinking Law and Language unveils today’s problems with the two faces of language: the analogue and the digital, on the basis of which our smart phones and Artificial Intelligence create modern life.
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INTERMEZZO 4: The selfie’s self

Jan M. Broekman



Significance, semioticians tell us, is a matter of mutual understanding, whereby the dimensions of the “mutual” seem to unfold on a global scale. They could call that “understanding,” or, in accordance with its essence, simply “footing.” But footing as a concept and footing as a social activity seem not primarily a matter of speaking, but of being addressed. Differences between the two parallel the differences between various positions in speech events.

Look at Ludwig. See him sitting in front of himself. The two stumble over the same word: “this” or “that.” One of them, which he calls “he himself,” tries to catch the proper word as if he were fishing in darkest waters. Where is it, what is it? As if he had an immense mirror opposite that challenges him: ask your partner, your O/other! But the mirror’s portrait is too vague, its colors too dark. It does not inform, just creates the impression (which we all have from time to time) that there is really nothing. Nothing. No-thing? What then of the “this” and the “that”? Are they indicators of an absolute emptiness? Is one’s share in humanity a black hole?

Strange, even alienating to register how such ideas touch the trusted concept of a “Self.”

Actual literature on the concept of the Self augments this considerably: there are many more theories, outlines, sketches, and essays regarding the theme than ever before. Indeed, the “Self” became a subject of consideration long...

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