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The echo of a sentimentae jurisprudence

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Ian Ward


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This article revisits what the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge termed the 'rage of metaphysics', the grand intellectual engagement that defined the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century Enlightenment. It does so in order to retrieve an alternative jurisprudence, one that described itself as much in terms of sentiment as of sense. It is suggested that one of the most striking expressions of this jurisprudence can be found in Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments. This attempt to retrieve a sentimental jurisprudence chimes with a wider intellectual movement, headed by the likes of Richard Rorty and Martha Nussbaum, which seeks to reinvest a 'new' humanism in both domestic and transnational legal and political order. It speaks more particularly to recent debates surrounding the nature of human and civil rights, and enjoys an added resonance in the context of recent attempts to fashion a jurisprudence of 'reconciliation' in South Africa and elsewhere. © 2002 Kluwer Law International.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ward I

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Law and Critique

Year: 2002

Volume: 13

Issue: 2

Pages: 107-125

ISSN (print): 0957-8536

ISSN (electronic): 1572-8617

Publisher: Springer


DOI: 10.1023/A:1019980208881


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