Different Conceptions of the Ideal Audience—A First Look

  • George C. Christie
Part of the Law and Philosophy Library book series (LAPS, volume 45)


As noted in the previous chapter, there are many universal features of law that reflect broadly accepted notions of the roles of judges and other participants in the legal process and of the forms that legal regulation must take—features that clearly influence and constrain our notions of the ideal form of legal argument. It is nevertheless indisputable that there are also differences in the way different cultures envision the ideal form of argument. That different cultures, even within the Western legal tradition, should have somewhat different conceptions of the ideal or universal audiences to which legal arguments are made is of course not surprising. It merely reflects the fact that our notion of an ideal or universal audience is basically a construct, even if it is a construct that we constantly presuppose and could not do without. Moreover, the existence of these differences certainly does not detract from the fact that these more particularized conceptions of an ideal audience and of the arguments that will appeal to those audiences serve as additional constraints on the form and nature of legal argument for those who are part of a subculture of a particular civilization.


Legal Argument Punitive Damage United States Supreme Universal Audience American Court 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • George C. Christie
    • 1
  1. 1.Duke UniversityDurhamUSA

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