Renmin Chinese Law Review
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Renmin Chinese Law Review

Selected Papers of The Jurist (法学家), Volume 6

Edited by Jichun Shi

Renmin Chinese Law Review, Volume 6 is the sixth work in a series of annual volumes on contemporary Chinese law which bring together the work of well-known scholars from China, offering an insight into current legal research in China.
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Chapter 12: Legal dogmatics in systems theory

Liu Tao


The dispute between legal dogmatics and socio-legal studies is part of the crisis of the Western legal tradition. The response to this dispute and the way to solve the crisis lie in externally observing the issue of legal autonomy in the Western legal tradition, but the current literature has not focused externally on the core of legal dogmatics – normativity. Systems theory places emphasis on the legal norm itself, it explains the legal dogmatics in analyzing the self-referencing of the legal concept, the normative expectation of law’s function, and it makes plain the co-existence of law’s openness and closure. It also offers a response to the issue of legal argumentation in legal dogmatics. The concepts of distinction, re-entry, redundancy and structural coupling all focus on legal norms from an external observation perspective and construct a different argument on legal autonomy and legal dogmatics, thus adding new knowledge to this dispute.

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