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Law, Rights and Discourse

The Legal Philosophy of Robert Alexy

Editor(s): George Pavlakos
Media of Law, Rights and Discourse
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Published: 11-07-2007
Format: Hardback
Edition: 1st
Extent: 390
ISBN: 9781841136769
Imprint: Hart Publishing
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
RRP: £70.00
Online price : £63.00
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Loren Epson

About Law, Rights and Discourse

A philosophical system is not what one would expect to find in the work of a contemporary legal thinker. Robert Alexy's work counts as a striking exception. Over the past 28 years Alexy has been developing, with remarkable clarity and consistency, a systematic philosophy covering most of the key areas of legal philosophy. Kantian in its inspiration, his work admirably combines the rigour of analytical philosophy with a repertoire of humanitarian ideals reflecting the tradition of the Geisteswissenschaften, rendering it one of the most far-reaching and influential legal philosophies in our time. This volume has been designed with two foci in mind: the first is to reflect the breadth of Alexy's philosophical system, as well as the varieties of jurisprudential and philosophical scholarship in the last three decades on which his work has had an impact. The second objective is to provide for a critical exchange between Alexy and a number of specialists in the field, with an eye to identifying new areas of inquiry and offering a new impetus to the discourse theory of law. To that extent, it was thought that a critical exchange such as the one undertaken here would most appropriately reflect the discursive and critical character of Robert Alexy's work. The volume is divided into four parts, each dealing with a key area of Alexy's contribution. A final section brings together concise answers by Robert Alexy. In composing these, Alexy has tried to focus on points and criticisms that address new aspects of discourse theory or otherwise point the way to future developments and applications. With its range of topics of coverage, the number of specialists it engages and the originality of the answers it provides, this collection will become a standard work of reference for anyone working in legal theory in general and the discourse theory of law in particular.

Table Of Contents

List of Contributors
George Pavlakos

1. The Argument from Justice, or How not to Reply to Legal Positivism
Joseph Raz
2. An Answer to Joseph Raz
Robert Alexy

3. Why Law Makes No Claims
Neil MacCormick
4. How Non-Positivism Can Accommodate Legal Certainty
Stefano Bertea
5. Two Concepts of Objectivity
George Pavlakos
6. Discourse Ethics, Legal Positivism and the Law
Philippos Vassiloyannis

7. Political Liberalism and the Structures of Rights: On the Place and Limits of the Proportionality Requirement
Mattias Kumm
8. Proportionality, Discretion and the Second Law of Balancing
Julian Rivers
9. Human Rights and the Claim to Correctness in the Theory of Robert Alexy
Jan Sieckmann
10. Three-Person Justification
Jonathan Gorman

11. Law's Claim to Correctness
Maeve Cooke
12. A Teleological Approach to Legal Dialogues
Giovanni Sartor
13. The Claim to Correctness and Inferentialism. Alexy's Theory of Practical Reason Reconsidered
Giorgio Bongiovanni, Antonino Rotolo, Corrado Roversi
14. The Concept of Validity in a Theory of Social Action
Carsten Heidemann
15. The Weight Formula and Argumentation
Bartosz Brozek

16. Thirteen Replies
Robert Alexy


“Bringing together first-tier legal philosophers and scholars of Alexy's work who represent many of the countries where his theory has enjoyed attention, this volume reflects the uncommon virtues of Alexy's seminal work: its philosophical depth, disciplinary breadth, and geographical reach. Avoiding the hagiographic bent, repetition and ill-founded criticism that often encumber collections of this kind, the editor has managed to stage a genuine dialogue between the authors and Alexy, a dialogue that offers a wealth of original insights into the discourse of law and, indeed, contemporary legal theory generally.” –  Stanley L Paulson, William Gardiner Hammond Professor of Law, and Professor of Philosophy, Washington University in St Louis,

“In short, this is a good and useful book not only to those interested in the ideas of Robert Alexy, but also to those with more general worries such as the relation between law and morality, the criteria to evaluate adjudication grounded in human rights, the structure of legal reasoning and the investigation on which sort of theory of law would be able to ground legal objectivity. Given the impact of Alexy's work across many jurisdictions, it is not clear why a comprehensive book on his contribution to legal theory has not been published in English before now. This lacuna has been filled by Law, Rights and Discourse.” –  Claudio Michelon, Edinburgh Law Review, Vol. 12: Issue 3

“…this volume helps us to gain a better understanding of the implications of Alexy's theory of legal argumentation, but also to identify new areas of research within the discourse theory of law.” –  Reza Banakar, Legal Ethics Vol 10, No 2

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