Robert Alexy's Philosophy of Law As System
"Institutionalized Reason", edited by Matthias Klatt, 1–26. 2012. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
35 Pages Posted: 14 Jun 2017
Date Written: June 10, 2012
It has been frequently remarked that the works of Robert Alexy form a system. With an eye to links between his main works, Robert Alexy himself has remarked that ‘the result may well be a system’.
How this system is to be explicated, however, has not been addressed in an effective way. This, essentially, is the main aim of this paper. According to Alexy, juridico-philosophical thought revolves around three problems: In what kind of entities does the law consists and how are they related to one another? This addresses the concept of a norm and a normative system. Second, looking to authoritative issuance and social efficacy, how is the real dimension of the law to be understood? This is the question posed by legal positivism. Third, how is the correctness or legitimacy of the law to be understood? This is the problem of the relation between the law and morality.
The overarching idea of this system is institutionalized reason, which is found at the very core of Alexy’s theory of law. The theory rests on the claim that the law necessarily comprises both a real or factual dimension and an ideal or critical dimension. The reconciliation of the ideal and the real, if possible at all, is only possible by means of institutionalized reason.
I will proceed in three steps. First, I will provide an overview of Alexy’s main works. The overview will reflect the three pillars of Alexy’s work, along the lines of his three main monographs and the most important articles. I will then identify relations and interconnections between and among the three pillars. These first two steps serve to collect and analyse the material and to prepare the way for the last step, which focuses on the system as a whole.
Keywords: Robert Alexy, balancing, legal theory
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