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Montaigne's Inquiry into the Sources of Normativity

Posted: 13 Apr 2004  

Sylvie Delacroix

University College London - Faculty of Laws


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.

Keywords: Montaigne, normativity of law

Suggested Citation

Delacroix, Sylvie, Montaigne's Inquiry into the Sources of Normativity. Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence, Vol. 16, No. 2, pp. 271-286, 2003. Available at SSRN:

Sylvie Delacroix (Contact Author)

University College London - Faculty of Laws ( email )

Gower St
London WC1E OEG, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom


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