This book began with the observation that the aims, methods and organization of legal scholarship have received a lot of attention in the last few years. What followed can be seen as an attempt to cope with this ‘identity crisis’. This synopsis does not offer a detailed summary of that attempt but, instead, highlights four key points, which in my view are essential if we are to take legal scholarship seriously and avert the crisis that confronts legal scholars. First, a clearer vision of the tasks assigned to legal scholarship is required. Legal academics can pursue different goals but, in my view, the core of their discipline is the question, ‘What are people legally obliged to do?’ The accompanying research method is to identify and to think through arguments for and against certain solutions and to see whether these arguments can be accepted or not in the normative setting of a specific jurisdiction. Existing jurisdictions are thus seen as ‘laboratories’ in dealing with conflicting normative positions. One need not accept this specific interpretation of the task of legal science to recognize that a clearer formulation of its aim is needed. The legal discipline will otherwise remain a pariah in the company of other academic disciplines that can describe precisely what is at their core.
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