The Mind and Method of the Legal Academic
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The Mind and Method of the Legal Academic

Jan M. Smits

Jan Smits assesses the recent turn away from doctrinal research towards a more empirical and theoretical way of legal investigation and offers a fresh perspective on what it is that legal academics should deal with and how they should do it. The book also considers the consequences which follow for the organization of the legal discipline by universities and uses this context to discuss the key questions of the internationalization of law schools, quality assessments, legal education and the research culture.
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Chapter 2: The Homo juridicus: towrds a redefinition of normative legal science

Jan M. Smits


The introduction to this book showed that there is much work to be done pertaining to the aims and methods of legal science, the impact of which has reached a point where legal academics themselves can no longer distinguish the core of their activity. This is why, in Chapter I, four questions about the law were identifi ed to facilitate legal academics in classifying their research. This should not make us forget, however, what is at the core of the legal discipline. The main thesis of this book is that legal science is primarily formed by the question of how the law ought to read. Before elaborating on this point further, this chapter will investigate the requirements that an academic discipline should meet in general (nos. 20–22). Normative legal science is then identified as the core of the legal discipline in nos. 23–26, followed by an account of what could be the theoretical underpinning of this view (nos. 27–29).

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