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The law’s homogeneity

Challenged by heterogenisation through ethics and economics

Acta Juridica Hungarica
Author: Csaba Varga

The Atlantic civilisation has over the past centuries been composed of two definitely diverging ethoses and social philosophical inspirations, differing also by their very foundations. The contrasts are perhaps most conspicuous today as to be seen in the difference between approaches to life as a struggle and to law as a game within it. No doubt, on the one hand, there prevails the rest of (1) a European Christian tradition, characterised by communal ethos, with provision of rights as counter-balanced by obligations, in which priority is given to the peace of society and a traditional culture of virtues is promoted to both circumvent excesses and acknowledge human rights, with a focus on prevention of and remedy to actual harms. It is such an environment within which homo ludens as a type of the playful human who is at the same time dutiful and carefree-entirely joyful-constitutes a limiting value. If and insofar as struggle appears at all on the scene, it is mostly recognised as a fight for excellence. As a pathologic version, the loneliness of those staying away from participation may lead to psychical disorders which require subconscious re-compensation, the symbolic sanctioning of which was once accomplished by the psycho-analysis. On the other, there has also evolved (2) an Americanised individualistic atomisation of society, expecting order out of chaos, with absolutisation of rights ascribed to individuals, all closed back in loneliness. As an outcome, obligations are circumvented by entitlements, and unrestrained struggle becomes a part of any normal course of life with the deployment of human rights just to neutralise (if not disintegrate) communitycentred standards. “Life is struggle”-the hero of our brave new world enunciates the words as a commonplace with teeth clenched, convinced that life is barely anything but fight against anybody else (as an improved version, hailed as civilisatory advancement as re-actualising-under the pretext of maximising the chances of-the ominous bellum omnium contra omnes, formulated once in early modern England). Starting from the common deployment of some symbolical “cynical acid” in foundation of modern formal law but developing through differentiated ways of how to search for reason and systemicity in law, the conceptual and methodical effect of this very division is shown in the paper within the perspectives for curing malpractice in law and also in the role of ethics in economy.

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