Legal Objectivity and the Illusion of Legal Principles
University of San Diego School of Law
August 18, 2008
RIGHTS, LAW AND MORALITY: THEMES FROM THE LEGAL PHILOSOPHY OF ROBERT ALEXY, M. Klatt, ed., Oxford University Press, 2009
San Diego Legal Studies Paper No. 08-069
In this essay I approach the topic of legal objectivity by analyzing law's possible relationships with morality, rules, standards, and principles. I argue that law's function is to settle moral controversies, which renders problematic law's incorporation of morality and points to the moral desirability of determinate rules, even though such rules will conflict with morality. I argue that legal rules can be objective. On the other hand, I deny that there are any norms that can play the role that so-called "legal principles" are said to play, whether in Dworkin's account of them or in Alexy's.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 30
Keywords: objectivity, rules, standards, principles, morality, settlement
JEL Classification: K00, K10
Date posted: August 27, 2008 ; Last revised: September 10, 2011
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