Understanding the Nature of Law
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Understanding the Nature of Law

A Case for Constructive Conceptual Explanation

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.
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Chapter 6: Conceptual explanation of European Union law

Michael Giudice


This chapter offers a second illustration of how constructive conceptual explanation proceeds by testing conceptual accounts against observable social reality. Unlike the last chapter, which was restricted to consideration of a particular type of modern sovereign state, this chapter turns to conceptual investigation of a particular example of nonstate law, European Union (EU) law. One of the central philosophical puzzles emerging from reflection on the nature of EU law is how best to understand the rival supremacy claims – regarding the ultimate source of validity of EU norms – made respectively by member-state courts and the European Court of Justice. In this context, strict adherence to the method of conceptual analysis results in a logically incoherent descriptive-explanation of EU law, and for this reason, constructive conceptual explanation must be pursued.

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