1st Edition

Law in the Time of Oxymora A Synaesthesia of Language, Logic and Law

By Rostam J. Neuwirth Copyright 2018
    284 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    284 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    What do different concepts like true lie, bad luck, honest thief, old news, spacetime, glocalization, symplexity, sustainable development, constant change, soft law, substantive due process, pure law, bureaucratic efficiency and global justice have in common? What connections do they share with innumerable paradoxes, like the ones of happiness, time, globalization, sex, and of free will and fate?

    Law in the Time of Oxymora provides answers to these conundrums by critically comparing the apparent rise in recent years of the use of rhetorical figures called "essentially oxymoronic concepts" (i.e. oxymoron, enantiosis and paradoxes) in the areas of art, science and law. Albeit to varying degrees, these concepts share the quality of giving expression to apparent contradictions. Through this quality, they also challenge the scientific paradigm rooted in the dualistic thinking and binary logic that is traditionally used in the West, as opposed to the East, where a paradoxical mode of thinking and fuzzy logic is said to have been cultivated.

    Following a review of oxymora and paradoxes in art and various scientific writings, hundreds of "hard cases" featuring oxymora and a comprehensive review of the legal literature are discussed, revealing evidence suggesting that the present scientific paradigm of dualism alone will no longer be able to tackle the challenges arising from increasing diversity and complexity coupled with an apparent acceleration of change. Law in the Time of Oxymora reaches the surprising conclusion that essentially oxymoronic concepts may inaugurate a new era of cognition, involving the ways the senses interact and how we reason, think and make decisions in law and in life.

    1. Prologue: The Quest for Light

    2. Introduction

    3. From Essentially Contested to Oxymoronic Concepts

    4. Essentially Oxymoronic Concepts in Art and Science

    5. Oxymora in the Law

    6. Change of Language or Language of Change?

    7. Law in the Time of Oxymora: Just Injustice?

    8. Cognition: Mind the Change or Change the Mind?

    9. Law for the Time of Oxymora: Mnemonic Law

    10. Concluding Remarks

    11. Epilogue: A New Era of Light


    Rostam J. Neuwirth is Professor of Law at the University of Macau (China) where he also serves as the Program Coordinator of Master of International Business Law (IBL) in English Language. He received his PhD degree from the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence (Italy) and also holds a Master’s degree in Law (LL.M.) from the Faculty of Law of McGill University in Montreal (Canada). His undergraduate studies he spent at the University of Graz (Austria) and the Université d’Auvergne (France). Previously, he taught at the West Bengal University of Juridical Sciences (NUJS) in Kolkata (India) and the Hidayatullah National Law University (HNLU) in Raipur (India). Prior to that, he worked for two years as a legal adviser in the Department of European Law in Department I.4 (European Law) of the Völkerrechtsbüro (International Law Bureau) of the Austrian Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

    Neuwirth has authored more than 70 articles in international journals around the world. His research interests are strongly focusing on interdisciplinarity and include the legal areas of international economic law, WTO and EU law, the creative economy, intellectual property, cultural diversity, comparative law, as well as various "law and … issues".

    'Professor Rostam J Neuwirth has produced a scholarly work of real excellence that will be certain to test the concept of law. In the vanguard of research, his work re-conceptualises the perception and reality of law. Its contribution is more than important. It is fundamental.'

    Professor Gonzalo Villalta Puig, The University of Hull, UK

    'Law in the Time of Oxymora, like its title, brings together fields and thoughts that are often considered opposites, to present a well-reasoned and compelling argument about the durability and applicability of western binary approaches across many disciplines. Regardless of your field of expertise - from science to law to art - this book should be read for its original and imaginative insights that are delightfully well written and presented, and which are likely to make you rethink some of your accepted "truths".'

    Colin B. Picker, University of Wollongong, Australia

    'Rostam J. Neuwirth’s study of the oxymoron – the word itself represents an oxymoron – in literature, art and science, and, dependent on these, law, shows that binary logic and universal principles without irreconcilable contradictions are difficult to maintain in a globalised world. Not only will the lawyer look differently at law after having read this fascinating book on oxymoronic concepts, the researcher will be delighted by the rich source material the author provides from literature, philosophy, science, law and politics.'

    Andreas Rahmatian, University of Glasgow, UK

    'Rostam Neuwirth’s book 'Law in the Time of Oxymora' is a thoughtful and complex investigation of the varying uses of this fascinating figure of speech and its impact on our thought. While Professor Neuwirth focuses on the oxymorons of law, he also examines their use in science and the arts. He takes us on an exciting and informative journey through many areas of knowledge, leaving us more informed and more intrigued about the world and the many ways that we think about it.'

    Christine A. Corcos, Louisiana State University Law Center, USA

    'In the newly released book, Law in the Time of Oxymora: A Synaesthesia of Language, Logic and Law, he adds a new and unique perspective to the global governance debate, by exploring the new trend of a shift from the dominance of "essentially contested concepts" to one of "essentially oxymoronic concepts" in case-law and legal literature. This book pushes the boundary of interdisciplinary studies even further.'

    LIN Min, University of Hamburg, Germany