What is "law as rhetoric?" How does it apply to a state's management of monopoly?

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The idea of law as rhetoric was described by J.B. White in an article published in the University of Chicago Law Review in 1985. Instead of viewing law is a set of rules, as it is most commonly viewed by philosophers and academic scholars, White proposes that we view law...

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The idea of law as rhetoric was described by J.B. White in an article published in the University of Chicago Law Review in 1985. Instead of viewing law is a set of rules, as it is most commonly viewed by philosophers and academic scholars, White proposes that we view law as a branch of rhetoric. According to Plato, the ancient rhetorician Gorgias defined rhetoric “the art of persuading people about matters of justice and injustice in the public places of the state.”

White believed that law cannot be objectified or abstracted, because the acceptance of any law is subjective, based on the views of the audience, or the persons deciding a legal case. Arguments are interpreted differently by different audiences, as interpretations depend on the socio-cultural context in which information is presented. In a court of law, an argument is resolved when whoever hears the argument decides that one claim sounds more reasonable than the other. Thus, because rhetoric affects the way an argument sounds, rhetoric determines the outcome of legal arguments. The key idea here, however, is that the persuasiveness of an argument depends on what the audience considers persuasive.

As far as your question about how law as rhetoric relates to a state’s management of monopoly, I believe “law as rhetoric” is an independent concept that is not related directly to a state’s management of monopoly but rather to legal matters in general. So, unless I’m misunderstanding something, in applying the concept of law as rhetoric, the effectiveness of legal arguments advanced in any state and on any issue will depend largely on how well the attorney is able use the language of persuasion to address socio-cultural influences on the views of the audience (whoever is hearing the case or being persuaded).

The article at the link below is J.B. White’s article, "Law as Rhetoric, Rhetoric as Law, The Arts of Cultural and Communal Life."

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