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 12: The need for audacious, fully armed scholars: Concluding reflections

Wibren van der Burg

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

Abstract

This final chapter is not a concluding one in which everything is nicely integrated. Today’s legal research – as reflected in this volume – is too diverse for that; more importantly, however, pluralism and perspectivism are unavoidable, and should even be valued in a positive manner. Therefore, the author merely provides some tentative reflections from his own selective perspective. First, he situates the various contributions and suggests some distinctions that might be helpful to understand the differences. Second, he discusses Péter Cserne’s suggestion of a tension between legal episteme and the episteme of the empirical sciences, and argues that we should adopt a more pluralist understanding of Lon Fuller to enrich his analysis. He then argues that we need to pay closer attention to normative research projects that are oriented towards evaluation and normative recommendation. The author concludes by distinguishing different types of interdisciplinary research, and examines how the relation between facts and norms plays a role in each of these types.

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