The linguistic challenge of meaning justice in Latin America | Justice | SHANTIBADI POTRIKA 

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Justiça / 25/06/2020

The linguistic challenge of meaning justice in Latin America

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The linguistic challenge of meaning justice in Latin America

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There is a reality of pain external to the law, which screams, which cries out: we live, more and more, in a viscerally unequal and unjust world that produces exploitation, oppression and victimization. Law, contrary to Plato, is not composed of essences, much less of truths, but of conventions and names that we establish for its institutes, categories, procedures and judgments. By language, form or matter, everything depends on the stipulative proposal for attributing meaning, on the process of extracting and defining the meanings of the signifiers. The quality of the interpreter or hermeneutic, more and more, is a fundamental condition to leave everything as it is or to bring about changes.

Justice, more than a traditional word in the dictionary of law, is a symbol, an objective, a noun in search of tradition and adjective explanation, a mission proper to the subject who, paradoxically, the more lucid, the more lost and immersed in pluralism the legal bush, permanent “eternal return” incompatible and undocked certainties.

The first way to define justice is to remove its lack, its absence, its non-being, which is the state of injustice. What does not perpetuate or reproduce injustice, in a way, contributes, albeit at a primary and superficial level, to the discovery of the just, providing a strangeness and a distinction. As Luis Villoro warns, “instead of seeking the principles of justice in the possible agreement to which free and equal rational subjects would arrive, it is a case of determining them based on their ineffectiveness in today's society”, starting the negative path.

Affirmatively, seeking the identity of justice presupposes accepting the search for “alternative” criteria for resolving conflicts consistent with the culture and people of a given place. More than freedom, it is about seeking to compensate for inequality, to value differences, to recognize a truly democratic and community justice (ex: Bolivia). It remains to be seen how.

You have to cross the path with the right tools and instruments. Mediations are vital and necessary. However much effort Aristotelian reasoning can generate, the description is always incomplete and partial, after all, Justice is an open concept, it is doing and undoing, it is construction and deconstruction, it is a permanent production of knowledge. Justice can be many things: limit, opportunity, failure, prevention, etc. As Bachelard teaches in the text by Albano Pêpe, “the definitive constitutes the negation of knowledge that is always on the alert”; in other words, reason is open, an invitation to the territory of epistemology.

Justice is also a value. Justice is not a Hegelian and naive totality, it is not an ontological or univocal data, capable of being easily pointed out, but a community value, an expression resulting the clash and crossing of the subject by ideologies. Above all, justice is a relational concept, something that circulates both at the most general level and in resolving concrete tensions and problems.

In this context, norms are certainly necessary mediations, but insufficient for the establishment of justice, which, before an effective judgment, a square judgment, is a pretension, a search that needs to be sensitive to an environment, an environment, a given context, bringing tensions closer and unbalancing, to the right side, conflict of interest.

If we were looking for a definitive linguistic technique to define justice, many could be the criteria (Warat): ostentatious, denotative, contextual, gender and synonymy would be some possibilities; likewise, it went the superficiality of an originally commutative justice to a globally accepted distributive justice, a complex formula that - that is to say, does not end in John Rawls' theory, inapplicable to all realities, among them our Latin American condition , still taken of "dependence" and excessive subservience and praise for imported knowledge forged outside our soil in which there is a strong gap between theory and practice that insists on persisting. It is necessary to choose between freedom and difference, to rethink concepts such as “original position” and “veil of ignorance”. Rawls is far having said everything. Liberals and communitarians is a dichotomy that does not solve all problems, especially “ours” in Pátria Grande. “Giving each one what they need” in a decolonial perspective presupposes a transformative praxis which we are still distant. In the “language” of Latin America, this implies reviewing brutal sources of injustice, such as poor land distribution and insane war on drugs.

Thus, if philosophizing is to create a permanent reflection and construction of meanings, each one needs to authentically write his page, look for his lexicographic and stipulative definitions, supporting them in theory and in practice. A theory of justice reinvigorated by the language circulating in a particular piece of the world needs to emerge.

Justice is the name of being and meaning (Heydegger) of Law, its instance and necessary moral reserve of legitimacy. In this sense, as Paul Ricoeur rightly states, "the tenacious incorporation, step by step, of an additional degree of compassion and generosity in all of our codes - penal code and social justice code - is a perfectly reasonable, although difficult and interminable task" . What to do? Here lies the point for reflection.

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