Relational Jurisprudence: Vulnerability between Fact and Value
Maksymilian T. Del Mar
University of London - Queen Mary - Department of Law
September 29, 2012
2 Law and Method, 2012 Forthcoming
Queen Mary School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 120/2012
Relational jurisprudence is an approach to law that situates it in five relational contexts: first, relations between individuals; second, relations between individuals and communities; third, relations between communities; fourth, relations between individuals or communities on the one hand, and institutions on the other; and fifth, relations between institutions. Thus, part of what makes relational jurisprudence distinctive is its object: the study of law in the context of certain relations, including investigating what factors affect and influence the quality of those relations. Relational jurisprudence is also distinctive, however, in its method. One of its methodological commitments is to avoid the dichotomy, without losing the benefits of a distinction, between facts and values. In trying to avoid this dichotomy, the approach identifies and uses devices that have both factual and evaluative dimensions, called here ‘factual-evaluative complexes’. These devices are then used to investigate the quality of different relations. One such device is ‘vulnerability’. The argument of the paper is that at least some of law can be profitably understood as managing vulnerability, i.e. recognising some vulnerabilities as worthy of protection and others not, or balancing the protection of different vulnerabilities in different relational contexts. Avoiding the dichotomy while retaining the usefulness of the distinction between facts and values in the above-outlined way means that we ought to employ a mix of empirical and normative methodology in the study of law.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 18
Keywords: Facts, values, jurisprudence, vulnerability, empirical, normative, pragmatism, methodAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: September 30, 2012
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