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Geology can be characterized as ‘earth history’. As such it relies on narrative forms in its explanations and interpretations. Unlike ‘mere’ stories, however, geological narratives are tightly constrained by physical laws, and they typically play an important role in geological reasoning. It is not uncommon for geological narratives to be rewritten when new evidence emerges or when theories change, as is illustrated here by the history of the changing interpretation of a particular stratigraphic layer in north-west Scotland, which had been regarded as unremarkable in the late nineteenth century. In the 1960s, it was re-evaluated as being the product of a violent volcanic eruption and was named the Stac Fada Member. A further reinterpretation in 2006 led to it being identified as the material ejected from a meteorite impact crater. This chapter examines the reasons behind the rewriting of these explanatory narratives and explores how narratives are used in geology.
The pari passu clause in modern sovereign debt instruments may be interpreted and implemented in a manner that it constitutes part of the regulatory framework of sovereign debt restructuring. A careful reading of the NML saga revealed that US courts did not necessarily endorse the so-called ratable payment interpretation in rejecting the legal ranking interpretation; the US courts introduced ratable payment as a matter of injunctive relief for the violation of the pari passu clauses by Argentina and did not provide it as a proper interpretation of the clauses. Alternatively, this study has endorsed a third interpretation of the pari passu clauses according to which these clauses provide additional but limited protection from unfair discrimination among bondholders by the debtor sovereign in the process of debt restructuring. This interpretation may represent an appropriate balance between bondholder protection and respect for debt restructuring. In addition, the ratable payment as injunctive relief can be conceived as a regulatory implementation of pari passu clauses addressing a particular serious category of the breach of sovereign bond contracts.
This chapter subjects the revival of formal and classical law values in contract law to critical examination. The emergence of a commercially oriented contract law is explored across a number of contract developments over recent years: the reassertion of party autonomy and the emphasis on contract law as default rules; the return to a formalist style of contract interpretation; the marginalisation of equity and considerations of public policy in contract; the tendency of judges to uphold contract terms whose validity was previously regarded as questionable (‘no oral modification’ and ‘no reliance’ clauses); the dilution of common law controls on contract terms (in relation to penalties, for example). The first part of the chapter examines recent contract law developments that suggest the re-emergence of formalism in law. The second part explores the common law’s retreat from a role as general regulator of contracting activity in the context of an increasingly contractualised society.
Emerging neurotechnology offers increasingly individualised brain information, enabling researchers to identify mental states and content. When accurate and valid, these brain-reading technologies also provide data that could be useful in criminal legal procedures, such as memory detection with EEG and the prediction of recidivism with fMRI. Yet, unlike in medicine, individuals involved in criminal cases will often be reluctant to undergo brain-reading procedures. This raises the question of whether coercive brain-reading could be permissible in criminal law. Coercive Brain-Reading in Criminal Justice examines this question in view of European human rights: the prohibition of ill treatment, the right to privacy, freedom of thought, freedom of expression, and the privilege against self-incrimination. The book argues that, at present, the established framework of human rights does not exclude coercive brain-reading. It does, however, delimit the permissible use of forensic brain-reading without valid consent. This cautionary, cutting-edge book lays a crucial foundation for understanding the future of criminal legal proceedings in a world of ever-advancing neurotechnology.
In the tensions between sight and sound, between the horizontal and the vertical, and between the narrative and the order of its telling, Paradise Lost hosts an expansive plurality to which each reader potentially contributes. What Milton’s epic offers to reading is central to the poem’s relationship to the experience of modernity. With a 1668 printing of the first, 10-book edition, Paradise Lost initiates a pattern for Milton’s late poems: prose prefaces in which Milton highlights how the poem is organized, and thus presumably ways the poems should be read. The story told in Paradise Lost seems to be simple in its familiarity: Satan rebels against God, comes to Earth, tempts Eve to eat the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and then she offers the fruit to Adam, who also partakes, after which God sentences both of them to different curses, and banishes them out of Eden. In Milton’s telling, though, the story is at first ten then ultimately twelve books (and roughly 10,000 lines) long, and layered with opposed possibilities, often in the same sentences and lines. The devil, as they say, is in the details.
In “The Book of Nature,” Rebecca Davis traces the development theological trope of the book of nature in the twelfth-century Neoplatonic allegories of Bernard Silvestris and Alan of Lille as well as in Augustinian theology. After exploring Natura’s role as God’s vicaria dei in the allegories of Alan and Bernard, Davis turns to the book of nature’s role in later medieval vernacular poems like Dante’s Divine Comedy and William Langland’s Piers Plowman. Davis argues that medieval authors utilize the book of nature to call attention to issues of interpretation at points when authors attempt to establish or contest literary authority. The book of nature calls on us to interpret the world just as we interpret texts. The chapter closes with later manifestations of the book of nature in the works of Milton, Wordsworth, Emerson, and Rachel Carson.
Building on the specification of our information-related identity interests in the preceding chapter, this penultimate chapter sets out the source and scope of other parties’ ethical responsibilities to meet these interests. These are obligations accruing chiefly to those who hold personal bioinformation about us or are in a possible to control its disclosure. This chapter argues that disclosure responsibilities are grounded in the strength of our interests in developing and maintaining inhabitable self-narratives, combined with our mutual dependence on and vulnerability to the conduct of others when it comes to fulfilling this interest. These factors ground ethical ‘responsibilities to help’ by offering, providing, or facilitating access to personal bioinformation or, sometimes, refraining from doing so. These are pro tanto responsibilities – they hold in the absence of stronger countervailing reasons to do otherwise. They will also vary depending on the nature of the information and the roles and relationship between potential discloser and recipient. These responsibilities extend not only to those to offer and disclose personal bioinformation but also to ascertain potential recipients’ identity needs and to disclose in discursive, individually responsive, and identity-supporting ways. The chapter explains what this kind of identity support entails.
This chapter provides an introductory coverage of the major issues involved in designing and executing sociolinguistic research with a focus on spoken Arabic in natural settings. It explains the concept of the observer’s paradox and suggests methods to reduce its effects in sociolinguistic interviews. It covers ethnographic, qualitative, and quantitative methods. The use of dependent and independent variables is explained in detail, with a focus on age as a social variable. The chapter ends with ethical considerations as an integral part of research and research conduct.
This chapter treats allegory in the Posthomerica in light of late antique thinking on personification. Tracing Quintus’ deployment of the technique, it centres on the shield of Achilles, which contains the fullest personification allegory: the Mountain of Arete. Scholars have focused on the literary-philosophical aspects of this image. I argue that Quintus uses personification self-consciously as a literary device. Drawing on contemporary conceptions of personification from both the Greek and Latin traditions – rhetorical treatises, school exercises and literary works (particularly Prudentius’ Psychomachia, which applies personification full-scale into hexameter verse) –this chapter shows how the Posthomerica reflects ideas in these texts about the inherently duplicitous nature of this mode of writing. Highlighting the tensions in his allegorical configurations, Quintus reveals a sophisticated understanding of personification as a productive but problematic system of divergence and convergence between different worlds and perspectives. By so doing, he advertises limits and challenges of his own poetic creation – a text both rooted in the Homeric past and a product of its time.
Large-scale development-led archaeology has changed the very nature of archaeological datasets. In addition to the familiar positive evidence of structures and deposits, there is now a wealth of ‘true-negative’ evidence: the confirmed absence of archaeological remains. Making good use of such data presents a challenge and demands new ways of thinking. Using case studies based on recent developer-led work in the UK, the authors suggest that focusing on ‘fingerprints’ of past human activity at a landscape scale provides a useful approach. The results argue in favour of changes to existing recording systems, as well as the need to integrate more fully both positive and negative evidence in archaeological interpretation.
Can Muslim values be reconciled with a feminist outlook? The question is pressing on both an individual level—for Muslim feminists—and on a political level—for the project of making Islamic practice compatible with the ideals of a just and liberal society. A version of this question arises specifically for the central Muslim text, the Quran: Can the message of the Quran be reconciled with a feminist outlook? There have, broadly speaking, been two approaches to this more specific question. I argue that both are inadequate. I then develop a novel approach to reconciliation that does not threaten the objective and universal normative force Muslims attribute to the Quran. My approach is revolutionary rather than apologetic and carves out a central role for moral understanding in Islam-as-practiced.
This chapter analyses a large dataset of domestic court decisions relevant to customary international law (CIL). It finds that domestic courts at times engage in CIL interpretation rather than mere ascertainment, even if they largely refrain from using that term. Domestic courts may interpret CIL autonomously, may defer to and validate international courts’ CIL interpretations, or interpret written documents, such as treaties, codifying CIL norms. Such practices bear out that domestic courts may consider some core CIL norms to be relatively stable and amenable to further refinement through interpretation. When interpreting CIL, domestic courts appear to resort mainly to systemic interpretation and interpretation on the basis of subsequent State practice. This reflects earlier findings by Panos Merkouris with respect to CIL interpretation by international courts. Domestic courts deciding cases on the basis of CIL may want to be more explicit regarding whether they engage in de novo CIL norm-identification or rather in the interpretation of pre-existing and stabilised customary norms. In case of interpretation, they may want to improve the methodological quality of their reasoning by pinpointing the canon of construction which they apply, and by relying on sufficient international (including foreign) legal practice.
When we interpret customary international law (CIL), what is it that we actually interpret? The most promising option is that interpretation of CIL is an interpretation of legal practices. However, the dominant two-element doctrine of CIL assumes that opinio juris generates both legality and normativity of practices, when the latter have no independent normative significance. The chapter challenges this view by drawing on jurisprudential ideas that define practices as inherently normative. This view allows to differentiate between two instances of interpretation of CIL. One is focused on clarification of the normative content of state practices, another is focusing on identification of these practices as legal ones. Interpretation as clarification involves assessing structures of practical reasoning. Interpretation of CIL implies establishing connections between first- and second-order reasons that form the practice and give it meaning. This entails that interpretation of CIL focuses on dynamics of reasons, their inclusion and exclusion within an existing normative framework. Interpretation as identification involves showing that existing second-order reasons meet a threshold of legal validity, which may take the shape of opinio juris, but may as well be functional, when legality of a practice is linked to its relevance in a broader set of legal practices
This chapter discusses the commitment to biblical authority in American Protestantism, including the ongoing debate over how to read and interpret the Bible; and the doctrines most common to American Protestant churches and denominations, including doctrines about God, creation, human nature and sin, the atoning work of Christ on the cross, the work of the Holy Spirit, salvation, the church and sacraments, and the future of the world. In each case, the Bible is often the source of disagreement and debate.
This chapter examines the contribution that domestic courts may have in the development of rules or guidelines for the interpretation of customary international law (CIL). Through an examination of national cases where courts interpret both domestic and international custom, the chapter traces methodologies of interpretation and motivations behind them. The chapter then asks two questions: how can we learn from domestic interpretive practices? and why should we learn from them? In answer to the first question, the chapter argues that domestic courts can contribute to the development of rules for CIL interpretation beyond the role assigned to them in the framework of sources, and also in informal ways. In answer to the second question, the chapter argues that looking to domestic interpretive approaches for custom may help us fill the ‘gap’ currently existing on this issue in international law, that domestic courts offer a wealth of cases from which we can draw, and that by learning from domestic interpretive practices international law can provide domestic judges with various familiar tools for their further engagement with CIL in the future.
As far as treaty law is concerned, processes of interpretation and identification are easily distinguishable. Treaties are in fact generally identifiable with no effort and, in most cases, once the identification is carried out it is possible to subsequently interpret them. On the contrary, with respect to customary international law, it is often argued that the process of its interpretation (when admitted) is inherent to its identification. Since customary law is typically unwritten, it is difficult to distinguish its identification from its interpretation. In this chapter, by following a positivist approach, I shall draw a schematisation of the differences (many) and similarities (very few) between the processes of identification and interpretation of an international rule: in particular, customary international law. My argument is developed in two parts. After providing a plausible definition of interpretation in international law, I will investigate – by taking as main example the Jurisdictional immunities of the State case – both legal and logical differences between the two distinct moments of identification and interpretation of a customary rule.
This chapter is a reflection in broad brushstrokes on the differences between three interconnected judicial operations: interpretation of customary rules, identification of customary rules and treaty interpretation. While identification of customary rules and treaty interpretation have been explored in and out, interpretation of customary rules is a recent addition to the thread of under-researched and complex topics in international law. Firstly, this contribution explores the concept of interpretation of customary international law and presents the arguments in favour of the amenability of customary law to interpretation. Secondly, it distinguishes between interpretation of customary rules and interpretation of state practice and explains why the two operations must be differentiated. Thirdly, the chapter presents examples of interpretation of customary international law in the practice of international courts and tribunals and argues why it is important that the distinct nature of custom and treaties as sources of law are acknowledged in the exercise of interpretation.
Customary international law is one of the formal sources of international law and plays a pivotal role in the existence and functioning of the international legal system. Although for a rule of CIL to emerge a widespread, representative, constant and virtually uniform state practice is required, accompanied by the requisite opinio juris, that does not necessarily mean that CIL is a slow and archaic process, which has been overcome by extensive treaty-making. On the contrary, CIL remains a vital element in the corpus of international law that is open to refinement, clarification, development and evolution. This process does not happen only through the classical emergence and/or subsequent modification of the rule, but also and perhaps most importantly through the process of interpretation. This chapter demonstrates this by showing that CIL interpretation is neither problematic from a theoretical perspective, nor is it the only example of interpretation of unwritten rules. This is further reinforced by jurisprudence taken from both the domestic and the international legal system, although such interpretative exercises are not without their limits. What emerges from this analysis is that CIL interpretation, as Sur has beautifully noted, is of a negentropic nature that constantly nourishes and updates CIL.
With the inescapable constructive dimension of CIL, courts serve a key function in the development of CIL through their interpretations and their interpretative methodologies. Sometimes courts are mistaken in their interpretation of CIL. This contribution explores three main questions: (1) what is misinterpretation? (2) how and why do misinterpretations take place? and (3) what are the potential consequences of misinterpretation of CIL? These all converge in the underlying question of whether there are detectable objective standards for the determination of misinterpretation or whether such observation is always a subjective one – anchored on a disagreement on the values which lie at the core of international law. To preserve legal certainty and predictability in the interpretation of CIL, it is crucial to recognise that courts are not infallible, may lack the requisite methodological tools and occasionally just get CIL wrong. The indeterminacy of CIL renders futile the attempts to pin down precise conditions for its validity, and simultaneously, leaves open the definition of misinterpretation of CIL.