Text and Polyphony

Jeremy Waldron

in Law and Disagreement

Published in print March 1999 | ISBN: 9780198262138
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191682308 | DOI:
Text and Polyphony

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This chapter discusses the character and conditions of deliberation in the legislature and looks at its relation to the textual character of the law that is enacted as the upshot of such deliberation. The topic of talk — or ‘deliberation’ — is now a common theme in discussions of democratic institutions. There has been a renewed emphasis on speech, discourse, and conversation in recent political and legal theory, particularly in theory that has been influenced by the work of Jurgen Habermas. The chapter focuses on relatively formal characteristics of legislative talk. It looks at the formal characteristics that make what happens in the legislature more like proceedings than like conversation, and the results of legislative proceedings more like canon than consensus. The aim is to explore what legislative talk has to be like in the context of the account we want to give of the relation between number, structure, and diversity in the legislature (on the one hand) and the reception and authority of legislation as a source of law (on the other).

Keywords: deliberation; legislature; Jurgen Habermas; consensus; polyphony

Chapter.  9056 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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