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South Texas Law Review





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In a world newly in touch with its diversity, ethics must struggle with the impact difference has on coherence. There is a crucial dilemma more profound than how to avoid violating the canons of ethics, or how to dodge disciplinary proceedings. For the lawyer in a world of plural ethics—the dilemma posed by the primary tension in ethics today between reason and spirit.

There are multiple unities of meaning in which a lawyer works, a sort of multijurisdictionalism. These multiple unities, these many worlds, are emblematic of a time in which people are recognizing that multiculturalism is not a trendy political program, but a reality. All persons live in more than one world, more than one meaning system. And as such, the dilemma for the lawyer is also a dilemma for political and legal discourse.

When a culture tries to become a multiculture, it risks genuine incoherence and intractable chaos. It risks unprogrammatic anarchy, and unchosen violence. It risks a degree of injustice that can corrode all involved. As a culture, Americans must embrace mystery and risk with whatever form of optimism they can muster, and then start to talk with one another as if lives, and perhaps souls, depended on it.

Recommended Citation

Emily Fowler Hartigan, Multiple Unities in the Law, 36 S. Tex. L. Rev. 999 (1995).

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