Rethinking Law as Process draws on insights from 'process philosophy' in order to rethink the nature of legal decision-making. While there have been significant developments in the application of ‘process’ thought across a number of disciplines, little notice has been taken of Whiteheadian metaphysics in law. Nevertheless, process thought offers significant opportunities for serious inquiry into the nature of legal reasoning and the practical application of law. Focusing on the practices of organising, rather than their effects, an increased processual awareness re-orients understanding away from the mechanistic and rationalist assumptions of Newtonian thought, and towards the interminable ontological quest to arrest or to classify the essentially undivided flow of human experience. Drawing together insights from a number of different fields, James Maclean argues that it is because our inherited conceptual framework is tied to a ‘static’ way of thinking that every attempt to offer justifying reasons for legal decisions appears at best to register only at the level of explanation. Rethinking Law as Process resolves this problem, and so provides a more adequate description of the nature of law and legal decision-making, by repositioning law within a thoroughly processual world-view, in which there is only the continuous effort to refine and to redefine the continuous flux of legal understanding.
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