A Case for Constructive Conceptual Explanation
Elgar Studies in Legal Theory
Chapter 9: Continuity in legal theory
This chapter introduces and defends what is called ‘continuity’, a methodological commitment (or meta-method) to openness which recognizes and reconciles the diverse approaches to understanding law and legal phenomena. The nature of continuity lies in recognition that diverse approaches can be connected by both complementary and conflicting relations: diverse approaches are complementary at the level of theoretical perspective (that is, all of conceptual, moral and political, and social scientific investigations are valuable and required for explanation of the social phenomenon of law), yet conflict may remain at the level of particular claims about the nature and existence of law. This chapter aims to show how a renewed account of conceptual explanation coupled with a commitment to pursuit of continuity yields a truly superior way of understanding the diversity of theories of law, and cuts through a number of meta-theoretical obstacles.
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