The Merits of Law: An Argumentative Framework for Evaluative Judgements and Normative Recommendations in Legal Research
Archiv für Rechts- und Sozialphilosophie, Forthcoming
Erasmus Working Paper Series on Jurisprudence and Socio-Legal Studies, No. 17-01, February 22, 2018
38 Pages Posted: 23 Aug 2017 Last revised: 16 Mar 2018
Date Written: February 22, 2018
Is the law good? How can it be improved?
These questions are frequently addressed, both in traditional doctrinal research and in interdisciplinary legal research. In this article, I elaborate a general argumentative framework for justifying evaluations and recommendations for legislative reform, and I identify the chains of argument for making evaluations and recommendations. This may help researchers to make their arguments explicit and transparent, and then to justify the choices made for each of the steps in the argument. This enables readers – as well as authors – to assess whether the argument’s conclusions are sound and convincing. A key problem in making these arguments concerns the choice of standards for evaluation. I suggest that they can be best understood in terms of the underlying values. In order to make all-things-considered evaluations and normative recommendations, interdisciplinary cooperation between doctrinal, socio-legal, and legal-philosophical researchers is necessary. Therefore, individual researchers will usually have to settle for pro tanto evaluations and recommendations.
Keywords: legal research methods, evaluation, recommendations, law reform, argumentative practice, chain of justification, argumentative framework, values
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