Center for Interdisziplinary Research

Fictions of Justice

Date: May 27 - 29, 2004
Organizers: Susanne Kaul, Rüdiger Bittner (both Bielefeld)

The aim of the workshop was to examine the role of justice in modern literature and film. Participants came from philosophy, literary studies, cultural studies and law. The interdisciplinarity of the topic is obvious, so the challenge was to communicate the different methods of the disciplines. Fiction can not so easily be translated in philosophical or legal theses. The different fictional texts and / or media dealt with different conflicts of justice, so that the contributions generated a large spectrum of types of justice.
On the one hand this variety seemed a problem for an attempt at comprehensive understanding, on the other hand it appeared as the expression of a historical chasm: the discourse of justice in the 20th and 21th Century is characterized by a more disparate spectrum of voices compared to the literary texts and discourses of the 19th Century. Nevertheless a handful of main themes guided the discussion about justice, like the question of realizing justice in a rotten world, the metaphysical or political origin of the idea of justice, the question of a criterion for justice, the relationship between general principles and individual cases, and the relationship of symmetry and asymmetry in justice.

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