Interdisciplinary Reflections on Legal Method
Edited by Sanne Taekema, Bart van Klink and Wouter de Been
Chapter 10: The natural and the normative: The distinction, not the dichotomy, between facts and values in a broader context
This chapter argues that it is beneficial to situate the fact–value debate in the broader context of the natural and the normative. Situating the debate in this way allows for finer distinctions between varieties of the normative – for example, distinguishing between values, norms and conventions. Making such distinctions helps, in turn, to see the different kinds of entanglements there are between the natural and the normative. Somewhat paradoxically, this way of speaking still retains different terms for phenomena that – as argued here – cannot be entangled. However, this is as it should be: there is pragmatic value in retaining the distinction, while rejecting any metaphysical dichotomy, between the natural and the normative. The implications of this argument for the methodology of legal scholarship are briefly explored.
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