The Impossibility of an Outsider's Perspective
The Objectivity in Law and Legal Reasoning, eds. Jaakko Husa and Mark van Hoecke, Hart Publishers, Oxford, 2013, pp.45-66
19 Pages Posted: 6 Feb 2015
Date Written: 2013
Law is commonly seen as a system with definite borders, demarcating the outside from the inside. Although this view, often conveyed by the metaphor of the 'house of law', seems to capture quite a few important properties of law, we should not be tempted to be carried away by this metaphor and assume that the walls of the house also divides insiders (legal practitioners and scholars of legal doctrine) from outsiders (legal theorists such as economists, philosophers and sociologists of law). Such a divide ignores important differences between the inhabitants and overlooks important similarities between 'insiders' and 'outsiders'. After an analysis of metaphors and their relation to concepts, it is proposed to allow for different concepts of law, depending on the different social practices in which law is understood and used. Legal philosophy has the task to critically examine the assumptions underlying the specific concepts and their relations in view of the problems experienced in such social practices.
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