The Law School Research Seminar
The Law School's scientific community, namely its professors, invited professors, and PhD candidates, is regularly found gathered at the doctoral program's seminars. The seminars allow members to present their work in progress, test new ideas, and discuss their recent publications. Because they reflect their participants' diverse fields of research, themes, and theses, the seminars offer an excellent opportunity to discover and encounter, exchange and discuss and contribute to the establishment of a small intellectual community, ambitious and dynamic, wherein exist varied research approaches and methods. Open to the public and students, the seminars take place in either French or English. All attendees have the opportunity to speak, without troubling the solemnity of the highest intellectual demands.
The workshops are hosted by Julie Saada.
The PILAGG (The Private International Law as Global Governance) seminar
Despite the contemporary turn to law within the global governance debate, private international law remains remarkably silent before the increasingly unequal distribution of wealth and power in the world. By leaving such matters to its public international counterpart, it leaves large lyuntended the private causes of crisis and injustice affecting such areas as financial markets, levels of environmental pollution, the status of sovereign debt, the confiscation of natural resources, the use and misuse of development aid, the plight of migrating populations, and many more.
This incapacity torise to the private challenges of economic globalization is all the more curious that public international law itself, on the tide of managerialism and fragmentation, is now increasingly confronted with conflicts articulated as collisions of jurisdiction and applicable law, among which private or hybrid authorities and regimes now occupy a significant place. The explanation seems to lie in the development, under the aegis of the liberal separation of law and politics and of the public and the private spheres, of an «epistemology of the closet», a refusal to see that to unleash powerful private interests in the name of individual autonomy and to allow them to accede to market authority was to construct the legal foundations of informal empire and establish gapingholes in global governance.
It is now more than time to de-closet private international law and excavate the means with which, in its own right, it may impact on the balance of informal power in the global economy. Adopting a planetary perspective means reaching beyond the schism and connecting up with the politics of public international law, while contributing a specific savoir-faire acquired over many centuries in the recognition of alterity and the responsible management of pluralism.
The workshops are hosted by Horatia Muir-Watt.
The Bentham Centre's workshops on utilitarianism
The Bentham Centre, conscious that utilitarianism is one of the major currents of modern thought, offers a place for reflection on aspects and developments in various fields of learning. Relying on cross-disciplinary research, the Bentham Centre seeks to make known the thought of Jeremy Bentham, one of the most significant philosophers in the history of utilitarianism.
Founded on Bentham's manuscripts in their most recent state of scientific edition, the workshops evaluate presuppositions, roots, contexts, and effects of the utilitarian mode of thinking, and at the same time measure limits and identify objections to the theory. Situated at the crossroads of a vast international network, the Bentham Centre welcomes multiple viewpoints and methods, in fields as varied as practical ethics, legal theory, philosophy of language, intellectual history, economy or English studies.
Since 2013, the Bentham Centre has partnered with the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle's centre Cultures of Western Mediterranean Europe and the Université Paris Nord's Research Centre on Local Action to engage in the research program CODEBENTHAM (ANR-11-IDEX-0005-02). Beginning with Bentham's works, this projects aims to comprehend the emergence of codification as an intellectual and cultural structure, and to trace its diffusion beyond France and the strictly legal sphere.
There are three scientific objectives:
- Make a work of intellectual history by examining the contribution of Bentham, who invented the neologism "codification" and theorized in French this new form of legal rationality, to the diffusion of this normative paradigm in the heart of enlightened Europe
- Advance Bentham studies in transcribing and editing, through the Collected Works, Bentham's unedited French writings of the 1770s and 1780s
- Shed light on legal (post)modernity by examining, in the wake of Michel Foucault, how the model of the code is made available for more contexts and what results from this technology of governance
The workshops are hosted by Guillaume Tusseau.
The EDGAM seminar
The focus of our research project, LEGAG/EDGAM (LEGAL EPISTEMOLOGY and GLOBAL ALGORITHMIC GOVERNANCE; EPISTEMOLOGIE DU DROIT DANS UNE GOUVERNANCE ALGORITHMIQUE MONDIALISÉE) is on the implications of big data on our ways of thinking about (and doing) law.
While much attention within the legal field has been on significant substantive issues such as privacy, there has been less enquiry as to our conceptions of normativity, the separation of law and fact, the rise of biopower in legal form, bias and implicit assumptions in the construction of algorithms, or the new distribution of roles between states and private actors. Our project aims therefore to approach the algorithmic turn in law by constructing an epistemological critique of legal knowledge based on and pertaining to big data.
Our first, preliminary workshops were designed to capture the state of the art in terms of law and judicial policy in relation to big data and to understand the stakes of the algorithmic turn from a legal perspective. This took the form of three round tables organized in the course of 2017-18. The discussion brought various epistemological issues to the surface, including the uncanny resemblance between the purported virtues of algorithms and those (alos purportedly) of the rule of law (neutrality, objectivity, efficency, etc). It also led to further questions about legal and scientific epistemologies, thereby paving the way for the next step.
The second stage of our resarch, which we are going to conduct in the last part of 2018, is an interdisciplinary take on these issues. We are looking outside the legal field to the social sciences, medecine (neuroscience), economics and philosophy, to explore whether similar preoccupations arise in other disciplines, and if so, in what vocabularies. The usefulness of this exploration presupposes that an interdisciplinary conversation can indeed take place (on this or any other topic) so as to avoid the mere but all too frequent juxtaposition of knowledge with no mutual enrichment. The organization of this part of our research will therefore be accompanied by a simultaneous reflection on the practice of intersdisciplinarity.