Facts and Norms in Law

Facts and Norms in Law

Interdisciplinary Reflections on Legal Method

Edited by Sanne Taekema, Bart van Klink and Wouter de Been

Facts and Norms in Law: Interdisciplinary Reflections on Legal Method presents an innovative collection of essays on the relationship between descriptive and normative elements in legal inquiry and legal practice. What role does empirical data play in law? New insights in philosophy, the social sciences and the humanities have forced the relationship between facts and norms on to the agenda, especially for legal scholars doing interdisciplinary work. This timely volume carefully combines critical perspectives from a range of different disciplinary traditions and theoretical positions.

Chapter 7: Systems theory, critique and law: To kill some darlings?

Lyana Francot

Subjects: law - academic, legal philosophy, legal theory, research methods in law


In the last two decades, the contours of a critical systems theory have been emerging against the background of fundamental criticisms of Luhmannian systems theory. This development seems to introduce a new paradigm shift in systems theory, renouncing its claimed normative neutrality in favour of a normative stance. This chapter explores the criticisms that triggered the normative turn in systems theory and the two main methods employed to formulate a critical systems theory, i.e. normative completion and normative excavation. The author argues that normative excavation is the suitable route to travel as it elicits the critical potential already inherent in Luhmannian systems theory.

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