Deconstructing Law's Normativity

16 Pages Posted: 5 Dec 2017

See all articles by Frederick Schauer

Frederick Schauer

University of Virginia School of Law

Date Written: November 30, 2017


Many contemporary philosophers of law believe that one of the central problems of the field is that of explaining the normativity of law. But it is not clear that this is a problem at all, or at least that it is different from the problems that have been exhaustively addressed and analyzed for generations. Once we deconstruct the alleged problem of normativity into its component parts, we can appreciate that legal normativity is either conditional, or is instead but a small variation on age-old questions about the moral obligation, if any, to obey the law simply because of its status as law. There are interesting modern versions of these positions, but in the final analysis David Enoch is correct in labeling the problem of legal normativity as a ā€œpseudo-problem.ā€

Keywords: legal obligation, normativity, jurisprudence, obedience to law, legal reasons

Suggested Citation

Schauer, Frederick, Deconstructing Law's Normativity (November 30, 2017). Available at SSRN: or

Frederick Schauer (Contact Author)

University of Virginia School of Law ( email )

580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States
434-924-6777 (Phone)

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