The Need for Audacious Fully Armed Scholars: Concluding Reflections
Erasmus Working Paper Series on Jurisprudence and Socio-Legal Studies, No. 16-002
(Forthcoming) Sanne Taekema, Bart van Klink and Wouter de Been (eds.), Facts and Norms in Law
26 Pages Posted: 24 May 2016
Date Written: May 23, 2016
This is the concluding chapter of the edited volume Facts and Norms in Law. This volume explores the different ways in which researchers from various disciplines at present conceptualize facts, values, and norms, and the relation between them. The editors of this book argue that the current differences comprise a significant obstacle with regard to interdisciplinary cooperation. Therefore, understanding these differences and the extent to which the various disciplinary perspectives can be integrated is an important step towards interdisciplinary research.
This chapter is not a concluding one in which everything can be nicely integrated. Today’s legal research is too diverse for that; more importantly, however, pluralism and perspectivism are unavoidable, and should even be valued in a positive manner. We need an eye for variation to do justice to the variety of legal cultures and legal fields, and to the range of disciplinary approaches that may help us to understand them. Therefore, I simply provide, under four headings, tentative reflections from my own selective perspective.
First, I begin by situating the various contributions, and suggest some distinctions that might be helpful to understand the differences. Second, I discuss Peter Cserne’s suggestion of a tension between legal episteme and the episteme of the empirical sciences, and argue that we should adopt a more pluralist understanding of Lon Fuller to enrich his analysis. I then argue that we need to pay closer attention to normative research projects that are oriented towards evaluation and normative recommendation. In my view, legal scholarship should also contribute to debates on legal reform and policy recommendations, and law schools should take up that challenge. I conclude by distinguishing different types of interdisciplinary research, and examine how the relation between facts and norms does play a role in each of these types. I argue that perspectivism and selectivity are inevitable; in other words, there is no view from nowhere, nor is there a Herculean view that can integrate them all.
Keywords: Interdisciplinary research, legal scholarship, fact-value distinction, facts and norms, perspectivism, legal reform, Lon L. Fuller
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