Montaigne’s Inquiry Into the Sources of Normativity

21 Pages Posted: 1 Nov 2018

See all articles by Sylvie Delacroix

Sylvie Delacroix

University of Birmingham - Birmingham Law School; The Alan Turing Institute

Date Written: 2003


How can one explain the normative outcome of the initial law-creating practices without any reference to some pre-existing natural laws "guaranteeing" the lawgiver's enterprise? The challenge which the rejection of the classical natural law model represents amounts to explaining the normative dimension of law despite the arbitrariness of the social practices from which it stems. Montaigne gave both an exemplary formulation and a peculiar solution to that question: in order to reconstruct the authority of law despite the "dangerous arbitrariness" from which it flows, Montaigne decides to avoid any inquiry regarding the original law-creating practices by positing a "law of pure obedience".

Suggested Citation

Delacroix, Sylvie, Montaigne’s Inquiry Into the Sources of Normativity (2003). Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence, Vol. 16, No. 2, 2003, Available at SSRN:

Sylvie Delacroix (Contact Author)

University of Birmingham - Birmingham Law School ( email )

Birmingham, AL B15 2TT
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://

The Alan Turing Institute ( email )

96 Euston Road
London, NW1 2DB
United Kingdom

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