Hegel, Hermeneutics, Politics: A Reply to Charles Taylor

West, Cornel

The increasing interest in Hegel among legal scholars can be attributed to three recent
developments. First, there is a slow but sure historicist turn in legal studies that is unsettling legal formalists and positivists. This turn—initiated by legal realists decades ago and deepened by the Critical Legal Studies movement in our own time—radically calls into question objectivist claims about procedure, due process, and the liberal view of law. Second, there are a growing number of serious reexaminations of the basic assumptions and fundamental presuppositions of dominant forms of liberalism not only among critics but also by many prominent liberal thinkers themselves.
These reexaminations take the form of immanent critiques of liberalism as well as creative revisions of liberalism. Third, a new emerging subject matter has seized the imagination of some legal theorists: the complex cultures of liberal societies (including the subcultures of the liberal legal academy). For the first time in American legal studies, the crucial roles of race and especially gender are receiving wide attention as legitimate spheres of legal inquiry into what constitutes the ways of life that circumscribe the operations of power in the legal systems of liberal societies.



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Cordozo Law Review

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Union Theological Seminary
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March 6, 2013