Poetry and the Law of Language
General Catalog Course Title:
Advanced Themes in Legal Theory, Philosophy, Argumentation
Terms Offered:
Spring 2016
Spring 2015
Course Thread: 
Law & Humanities
Weston, Nancy

Philosophical inquiry into questions of truth, law, language, and their relation, in the format of an advanced topical seminar, whose topic changes each term. This term, we shall inquire into the language of law by looking to the law of language: What rules in language? What can? And we shall engage those questions by asking after the law that rules in poetry, where the question of governance becomes more acute as concerns of social order, from which governance might claim warrant, are suspended. We shall inquire philosophically into the nature of poetry, to the end of understanding it not as a literary undertaking in the first instance, but, prior to that and as the ground of its literary possibility, in its relation to language, to truth, and to law. We shall thereby come to think further on what language, truth, and law are and may be, as they show themselves in the light of this relation. To assist and accompany us in this undertaking, we shall read a number of Heidegger’s essays on poetry, language, and truth. We will then attempt to read together the great law poem of the West, Sophocles’ Antigone.

For more detailed information about classes, please visit the UC Berkeley Online Schedule of Classes.