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Response from Barton Beebe

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 September 2007

Barton Beebe
Cardozo School of Law, United States


My hope is that Alan Audi's important and necessary intervention represents a turning point in “cultural property argument.” In Parts I and II of his critique, Audi expertly uses the tools of “legal semiotics” to do exactly what those tools were designed to do: demystify the language game of legal argument to reveal the “irreducibly antinomal” and dialectical nature of its maxims and countermaxims. Audi quite persuasively sets forth a disturbing vision of a discourse that functions by its nature not so much to generate meaning and normative force as to suppress them, all so that the status quo remains undisturbed. Just as the fact that the English are unlikely to give up the Elgin Marbles anytime soon “suggests a kind of idle or recreational character to cultural property argument,” so too Audi's critique. Indeed, stripped of its legal features, the field of cultural property argument does look “rather barren.”

© 2007 International Cultural Property Society

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Balkin, J.M.The Promise of Legal Semiotics.” Texas Law Review 69 (1991): 1831.Google Scholar
Paul, Jeremy. “The Politics of Legal Semiotics.” Texas Law Review 69 (1991): 1779.Google Scholar