Guido Gorgoni

The Vulnerability of the Legal Subject. A Ricoeurian Perspective

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Legal personhood, Responsibility, Recognition, Paul Ricoeur, Vulnerability.

This paper aims at considering the contribution of Paul Ricoeur to the reflection about legal personhood and the legal subject, in particular moving from its statement that vulnerability is accompanying autonomy as its shadow. The figure of a perfectly autonomous subject has been criticized since some time now, especially by the tenants of feminist approaches to subjectivity, as well as by the tenants of a “recognitional model of autonomyµ, stemming from the reflection on recognition inspired by the works of Axel Honneth. Paul Ricoeur developed his reflections on the subject of rights, where an implicit underlying philosophy of recognition was already readable, and subsequently dedicated his last major work to recognition almost ten years later. I will try to highlight the merits of his theoretical contribution for a reflection on vulnerability, which has become one of the main attributes of the subjects claiming to be recognized by the law. I shall suggest that the distinction between the classical legal subject and the “trueµ, “fullµ, or “completeµ subject of rights (in Ricoeur’s words) can become hermeneutically fruitful by relating the later to a prospective idea of responsibility.

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