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Freedom and TimeA Theory of Constitutional Self-Government$
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Jed Rubenfeld

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780300080483

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300080483.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM YALE SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.yale.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Yale University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in YSO for personal use.date: 17 April 2021

The Antinomies of Speech-Modeled Self-Government

The Antinomies of Speech-Modeled Self-Government

(p.74) Four The Antinomies of Speech-Modeled Self-Government
Freedom and Time

Jed Rubenfeld

Yale University Press

In a speech-modeled conception of self-government, the organizing term is government by the present will or voice of the governed. This conception of self-government speaks for the distinctively modern temporality and confronts the problem of fundamental rights by offering a limited matrix of solutions within which modern political and constitutional thought has played itself out. The real question is whether the speech-modeled conception of self-government offers a satisfactory account of self-government, rather than a satisfactory account of fundamental rights. This chapter shows that an antinomy, built into the very logic of the speech-modeled ideal of self-government, exists in the regulative ideal of governance by pure present popular voice. It examines Jacques Derrida's deconstruction of what he calls “logocentrism” and his analysis of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's commitment to a “logocentric” politics. It argues that political thought whose conception of self-government is dominated by the model of speech can proclaim itself in the name of the law, of freedom, or of justice—but only one at a time.

Keywords:   speech, self-government, temporality, Jacques Derrida, logocentrism, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, political thought, law, freedom, justice

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