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Cristiano de Aguiar Portela Moita

Certainties and Deep Disagreements in Law: towards a Hinge Legal Epistemology

My Research Project (RP) is essentially interdisciplinary. It lies on the intersection between Law and Philosophy. However, it is not just one more specialized research on a traditional topic of legal philosophy – though it does shed light on some well-known legal philosophical problems (e.g., the concept of law, the status of the Rechtsdogmatik, or the lack of right answers). Rather, as an epistemological work, it strategically addresses law as a field of investigation for a broader scope: to understand our worldviews, which are constituted by very  basic rooted certainties (or “hinges”, one of the late Wittgenstein’s metaphors), and the problem of collision of worldviews (“deep disagreements”), which is, in the end, a collision of different certainties held by different people. This broader scope ends up being relevant for other areas interested in elucidating aspects concerning particular traditional patterns of thinking, normative behavior, and their changes (e.g., in artistic movements, scientific revolutions, religious conversions, constituent processes, etc.).

As to the token Normativität, besides addressing the legal praxis, the RP is linked with the Wittgensteinian account of rules, strictly related to the notions of games, forms of life and, finally, hinges. Connected with it is the token Wandel: the RP addresses the conditions of change in worldviews and its possible consequences, taking the “legal form oflife” as a privileged object of investigation. Underlying both Normativität and Wandel is the token Kritik: dealing with worldviews and possible collisions requires a critical approach; as I suggest in my RP, typical political deep disagreements have been contaminating the legal discourse (the paradigmatic case is the recent judicial activism of Brazilian higher and lower courts), and this conclusion requires engaged critical reflections. Thus, Normativität, Wandel and Kritik are dimensions that permeate the RP.

Freie Universität Berlin
Humboldt Universität zu Berlin
Universität der Künste Berlin