The Multidimensional Self and the Capacity for Creative Interaction

Jennifer Nedelsky

in Law's Relations

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780195147964
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199918133 | DOI:
The Multidimensional Self and the Capacity for Creative Interaction

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The Multi-dimensional Self and the Capacity for Creative Interaction In addition to being relational, the “multi-dimensional self” is particular, embodied and capable of emotion in ways centrally related to the capacity for reason and autonomy. I argue that this concept of the human self is more appropriate for law than the traditional “rational agent”—with its inadequate conceptions of both rationality and agency. I show how relational conceptions of the self and autonomy help with the troubled issue of assigning legal responsibility to women who kill a battering partner who has threatened to kill them. I then address the wider question of how a relational approach complicates the question of responsibility. I also offer examples of how issues of rights are better understood with a fully embodied conception of the self. Equality is reframed in the context of the multi-dimensional self, and autonomy as part of a capacity for creation. Finally, a “Coda” acknowledges that my argument has drawn an exclusionary boundary: including human beings and excluding all other life forms in its engagement with equality, law, and rights. There is a sketch of how a relational approach can contribute to the necessary reflections on wise and respectful relations with all of the earth (and, indeed, the universe).

Keywords: emotion; reason; rational agent; embodied; battered women; creativity; equality; rights; law; animals

Chapter.  22584 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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