From Sao Paulo to Bad Homburg
rnFirst Fellow from South America doing research on the theory of discourse in law
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The Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities is happy to welcome its first fellow from South America. Flavia Portella Püschel from Brazil will be working at the Institute in Bad Hombug until Juli 2011. The young researcher of partly German descent is Professor of Private Law at the Faculty of Law of the Getulio Vargas Foundation in Sao Paulo. She was invited by the Excellency Cluster »The Formation of Normative Orders« of Goethe-University. Her research partner in Frankfurt and Bad Homburg is Professor Klaus Günther, specialist in legal philosophy, who is one of the speakers of the Excellency Cluster and member of the directorate of the Institute. During her stay Flavia Püschel will do research on »The Theory of discourse in law and the communicative function of civil law liability.«

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»Civil law liability seems to be in a paradox situation. On the one hand it is still considered as a central institution in private law, on the other hand it is in certain cases not able to fulfill the tasks that it is supposed to,« Flavia Portella Püschel outlines the problem she will be working on.

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Liability stipulates compensation. The prospect of having to compensate for damage is meant to discourage possible offenders and therefore prevent crimes. But what role can compensation and prevention play if the damage cannot nearly be restored? The possible danger in the use of nuclear energy for example is immense. And nobody knows what kind of damage genetically manipulated organisms can generate. Still, most countries stipulate liability also in these domains.

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»By the theory of discourse in law the causes for the continued use of civil law liability even in cases where compensation or prevention is meaningless or impossible can be analyzed,« explains Flavia Püschel. The basic concept in this context is the communicative function of the attribution of responsibility in society in criminal law as defined by Frankfurt’s legal philosopher Klaus Günther. Flavia Püschel wants to make use of the theory of responsibility also in civil law. The Bad Homburg project of the Brazilian researcher is part of a wider research topic in which she analyses different justification discourses of liability.

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Flavia Püschel was born in Sao Paulo, where she also studied and got her PhD. Among her academic posts were the Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, where she did research as a guest doctorate student.

(FKH - 10.02.2011)