Understanding the Nature of Law

Understanding the Nature of Law

A Case for Constructive Conceptual Explanation

Elgar Studies in Legal Theory

Michael Giudice

Understanding the Nature of Law explores methodological questions about how best to explain law. Among these questions, one is central: is there something about law which determines how it should be theorized? This novel book explains the importance of conceptual explanation by situating its methods and goals in relation to, rather than in competition with, social scientific and moral theories of law.

Chapter 6: Conceptual explanation of European Union law

Michael Giudice

Subjects: law - academic, legal philosophy, legal theory


This chapter offers a second illustration of how constructive conceptual explanation proceeds by testing conceptual accounts against observable social reality. Unlike the last chapter, which was restricted to consideration of a particular type of modern sovereign state, this chapter turns to conceptual investigation of a particular example of nonstate law, European Union (EU) law. One of the central philosophical puzzles emerging from reflection on the nature of EU law is how best to understand the rival supremacy claims – regarding the ultimate source of validity of EU norms – made respectively by member-state courts and the European Court of Justice. In this context, strict adherence to the method of conceptual analysis results in a logically incoherent descriptive-explanation of EU law, and for this reason, constructive conceptual explanation must be pursued.

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information