This book pursues a strand in the history of thought – ranging from codified statutes to looser social expectations – that uses particulars, more specifically examples, to produce norms. Much intellectual history takes ancient Greece as a point of departure. But the practice of exemplarity is historically rooted firmly in ancient Roman rhetoric, oratory, literature, and law – genres that also secured its transmission. Their pragmatic approach results in a conceptualization of politics, social organization, philosophy, and law that is derived from the concrete. It is commonly supposed that, with the shift from pre-modern to modern ways of thinking – as modern knowledge came to privilege abstraction over exempla, the general over the particular – exemplarity lost its way. This book reveals the limits of this understanding. Tracing the role of exemplarity from Rome through to its influence on the fields of literature, politics, philosophy, psychoanalysis and law, it shows how Roman exemplarity has subsisted, not only as a figure of thought, but also as an alternative way to organize and to transmit knowledge.
1. Introduction: Michèle Lowrie and Susanne Lüdemann, I. The Practice of Theory: A Historical Reminder, 2. Hans Lipps, Instance, Example, Case, and the Relationship of the Legal Case to the Law, 3. Bernhard Waldenfels, For Example, 4. Anselm Haverkamp, Equivalence Unbalanced – Metaphor, Case, and Example – from Aristotle to Derrida, 5. Eva Geulen, Without Example: Adorno, II. The Roman Practice of Exemplarity, 6. Rebecca Langlands, Roman Exemplarity: Mediating between General and Particular, 7. Matthew Roller, Between Unique and Typical: Senecan Exempla in a List, 8. Melanie Möller, Exemplum and Exceptio: Building Blocks for a Rhetorical Theory of the Exceptional Case, 9. Clifford Ando, Exemplum, Analogy, and Precedent in Roman Law, 10. John P. McCormick, Machiavelli’s Agathocles: From Criminal Example to Princely Exemplum, III. Exemplarity / Singularity, 11. Peter Goodrich, The Exampleless Example: Of the Infinite Particularities of Early Modern Common Law, 12. Christiane Frey, Bacon’s Bee: the Physiognomy of the Singular, 13. David Martyn, The Temper of Exemplarity: Werther’s Horse, 14. Robert Morrissey, Stendhal: Julien Sorel in the Footsteps of Napoleon, 15. Paul Fleming, Beside Oneself: Parapraxis as a Paradigm of Everyday Life (Freud)