Aristotle's Ethics and Legal Rhetoric: An Analysis of Language Beliefs and the Law, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Aristotle's Ethics and Legal Rhetoric

An Analysis of Language Beliefs and the Law, 1st Edition

By Frances J. Ranney


212 pages

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Taking the novel position of dealing with law, classical rhetoric and feminism concurrently, this book considers the effects of beliefs about language on those who attempt to theorize about and use law to accomplish practical and political purposes. The author employs Aristotle's terminology to analyze economic and literary schools of thought in the US legal academy, noting the implicit language theory underlying claims by major thinkers in each school about the nature of law and its relationship to justice. The underlying assumption is that, as law can only work through language, beliefs about its relationship to justice are determined by assumptions about the nature of language. In addition, the author provides an alternative, feminist rhetoric that, being focused on the production of texts rather than their interpretation, offers a practical ethic of intervention.


'This book provides three extended readings of a single legal case, in which Professor Ranney tests the rhetorical possibilities of three schools of legal theory. Each reading is extensively developed, demonstrating her knowledge of the history of law, theories of legal interpretation, and contemporary legal theorists. The book is ambitious and elegantly designed; the treatment is intelligent, purposeful, and well informed.' Professor Carolyn Miller, North Carolina State University, USA 'Frances Ranney's Aristotle's Ethics and Legal Rhetoric. An Analysis of Language beliefs and the Law treats an important subject in a thoughtful way. Because of the consistency of her methodological work, Ranney not only provides theoretical and empirical data for further study but also produces wisdom in a just, rhetorical, and useful way.' Rhetorical Reviews

Table of Contents

Contents: Rhetoric, law, ethics, feminism; The things we value: theory, practice, and production; The things we say: the speculations of legal science; The things we do: the activities of the legal imagination; The things we make: the productions of legal rhetoric; Erring for justice; Appendix; Bibliography; Index.

About the Author

Dr Frances J. Ranney is Associate Professor and Director of Women's Studies in the Department of English at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Wayne State University, USA.

About the Series

Law, Justice and Power

Law, Justice and Power
To speak about law is always and necessarily to be engaged in a discourse about both justice and power. While law's relationship to justice is everywhere contingent and uncertain, law completely divorced from power is unthinkable. And, while law need not be virtuous to be law, if it had no effect in the world it could hardly be said to merit the name law. Recognizing these facts, the series on Law, Justice and Power takes a broad view of legal scholarship.It publishes books by social scientists, humanists and legal academics which connect an understanding of culture's normative ideals with examination of the complex ways that law works in the world, insist that justice is inseparable from social practices and analyze law as one form of power, one way of constituting, controlling and changing the social world. It focuses on state law as well as law in communities and cultural practices and on identities and their articulation in and through law, on law's power in the taken-for-granted world, on its role in the complex construction of nation and national power and on global developments which today destabilize and transform the meaning and significance of law. The series invites innovative scholarship that crosses disciplinary as well as geographic and temporal boundaries.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / General
PHILOSOPHY / Ethics & Moral Philosophy