Facts and Norms in Law
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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.
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Chapter 10: The natural and the normative: The distinction, not the dichotomy, between facts and values in a broader context

Maksymilian Del Mar


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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