The Search for Law
(2014) 5 Jurisprudence 410
12 Pages Posted: 21 Aug 2015
Date Written: 2014
This review essay of Mariano Croce’s Self-Sufficiency of Law takes the opportunity to reflect on the wider jurisprudential enterprise while examining Croce’s stimulating book. Croce’s basic pursuit of a distinctive subject matter of law, and the theory to accompany it, explores a rich variety of sources and offers key observations on the distinguishing characteristic of law, the relationship between legal and social normativity, and the use of analytical legal theory. Croce makes his task more arduous by confronting legal and social pluralism, and offers as his own solution a composite theoretical position drawing in particular on Hart, Wittgenstein, classical Italian legal institutionalism, and Hoebel. The position is crowned by Croce’s understanding of transsectionality, which claims both empirical and analytical virtues in distinguishing law’s distinctive form of social normativity. In the course of providing a critical assessment of Croce’s position, more general questions are raised about the strategic uses of other theorists’ work, different possible views of how to approach the diversity of theoretical perspectives, and whether the search for law should conclude or start with a body.
Keywords: Croce, Hart, Wittgenstein, legal institutionalism, methodology
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