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 9: Continuity in legal theory

Michael Giudice

Subjects: law - academic, legal philosophy, 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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