(Review of) Legal Theory (Peter Wahlgren Ed. 2000)
Archiv für Rechts- und Sozialphilosophie, Vol. 88, No. 2, pp. 298-304, 2002
8 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2006
This collection of 20 essays by Nordic legal scholars, entitled Legal Theory, aims to "provide interesting material for further discussions concerning legal theory also outside the Scandinavian countries." In this review, I discuss Jes Bjarup's essay on Axel Hägerström's meta-ethical non-cognitivism, which theory constitutes part of the theoretical foundation of Scandinavian Legal Realism. Bjarup makes three claims. First, he claims that the received view, according to which Hägerström was concerned in his inaugural lecture with meta-ethics and nothing else, is mistaken. Second, he maintains that there is a place for law under Hägerström's theory. For to pursue the ideal of self-realization, the individual needs a stable social framework, which positive morality cannot provide. Third, he claims that Hägerström's theory leaves no room for "substantial normative or ethical inquiries into the law and its application," nor for legal reasoning conceived as practical reasoning. I question all three of Bjarup's claims, especially the first and the third.
Keywords: Hägerström, non-cognitivism, Scandinavian Legal Realism
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