June 16, 2016

Ziegert on Niklas Luhmann on Contingency and Law

Alex A. Ziegert, University of Sydney Faculty of Law, has published “L’Assassin Court Toujours”: Niklas Luhmann on Contingency and Law as Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 16/50. Here is the abstract.
The text which is at the centre of the discussion in this paper was one of the many manuscripts on which Niklas Luhmann worked until 1972 and then abandoned. It has been published now (2013) posthumously in Germany (in German) as a book in an edited version. While the reasons as to why Luhmann never published the text remain unclear, studying it now with hindsight reveals Luhmann’s writing as a fundamental book and direct conduit from legal theory to systems theory while circumnavigating sociological theory. With an international audience in mind, this paper will try to introduce this “unfinished” text in a particularly careful way which pays tribute to Niklas Luhmann’s original, perhaps peculiar, language and terminology. At the same time, this paper attempts to preserve the meaning of the original text by suggestions as to how that text could be understood in an English translation. However, the best fit between original and any translation of its meaning is ultimately left to the reader. For that purpose, the paper proceeds in an exegetic manner by quoting the original text at length and providing a suggested translation in English. This mode of comment on Niklas Luhmann’s manuscript does not substitute for a full translation – which may never come – but it could answer the urgent need for connecting an English-reading audience “just in time” with new publications by and on Niklas Luhmann when they come to hand. In this way, the paper can possibly avoid the long hiatus between the original publication in German and information about filtering through internationally in a haphazard way. This urgency applies the more to a text written by Niklas Luhmann which obviously has an important, perhaps even crucial, place in the genetic history of Luhmann’s ideas and in his generative grammar of systems theory.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

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