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Realism Today: On Dagan’s Quest Beyond Cynicism and Romanticism in Law
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Philosophy.
2014 (English)In: International Journal for the Semiotics of Law, ISSN 0952-8059, E-ISSN 1572-8722Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper explores the contribution by the contemporary legal realist Hanoch Dagan. Dagan’s brand of realism defines law on the basis of its institutions or social practices, not of its norms or rules. The paper first provides a critical overview of this realist theory of law: It is not synonymous with the predictive theory of law, with Leiter’s theory of judges, or Frank’s “breakfast theory”. By focusing on the role of judges and the methodology of legal reasoning, we discover that the core difference between realism and positivism lies in the claim that law is affected by a strong form of indeterminacy, stemming from the plurality of legal sources, not from the open texture of legal language as expressed in rules; and we are also able to distinguish this form of realism from contemporary movements in legal theory, such as critical legal studies and law & economics. The normative dimension of realism is also addressed: This theory of law develops a specific concept of justice, on the ground of a cognitivist theory of value.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Realism - Theory of Law - Positivism - Dagan - Moral Theory
National Category
Philosophy, Ethics and Religion Law Ethics Philosophy Law (excluding Law and Society) Political Science
Research subject
Practical Philosophy; Jurisprudence
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-238880DOI: 10.1007/s11196-014-9397-2OAI: diva2:772444
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2014-12-16 Created: 2014-12-16 Last updated: 2015-10-28Bibliographically approved

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