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:: Book alert :: Triantafyllos Gkouvas, Law’s Humility. Enlarging the Scope of Jurisprudential Disagreement, Hart Publishing, 2021.

About Law’s Humility

This book invites newcomers to analytical legal philosophy to reconsider the terms in which they are accustomed to describing and defending their jurisprudential allegiances. It argues that familiar taxonomic labels such as legal positivism, natural law theory and legal interpretivism are poor guides to the actual diversity of views on the nature and normativity of law, mainly because they fail to carve up the reality of jurisprudential disagreement at its joints. These joints, the author suggests, are elusive because the semantics of law systematically misplaces them. Their true nature resides in the metaontological and metanormative features that dictate or indicate the target of a theory’s jurisprudential commitments.

The book advocates a new vocabulary for articulating these commitments without eliminating the use of familiar criteria of division among competing theories of law. The resulting picture is a much broader platform of meaningful disagreement about the nature and grounds of legal truth and legal normativity. Albeit based on a factualist-cognitivist understanding of the sources and grounds of law, the book reserves ample room for the unconvinced. Those suspicious of the project of “ontologising” theoretical disagreements in law can avail themselves of the quietist or anti-metaphysical avenue that the book’s alternative taxonomy also makes available. The humblest path to law’s reality may not be metaphysically ambitious after all.

Table Of Contents

  1. From Legalese to Ontologese
    I. Dworkin’s Vision of Jurisprudential Disagreement
    II. The Site and Scope of Jurisprudential Disagreement
    III. Legal Facts and Legal Propositions
  2. Relating Legal Propositions to Legal Facts
    I. Legal Truthmakers
    II. From a Theory of Truth to a Theory of Truthmaking
    III. Legal Propositionalism
    IV. Legal Propositionalism without Legal Truthmakers
  3. Relating Legal Facts to Legal Propositions
    I. Two Hypotheses about Jurisprudential Perspectivalism
    A. Pragmatic Perspectivalism
    B. Semantic Perspectivalism
    C. Perspectival Theoretical Disagreement
    II. Non-perspectival Jurisprudential Statements
    III. Are Constitutive Disputes Merely Verbal?
    IV. Constitutive Disagreement and the Practical Point of View
  4. Two Levels of Disagreement about the Metaphysics of Law
    I. Legal Constitution and its Discontents
    A. First-Order Disagreement over Legal Constitution
    B. Second-Order Disagreement over Legal Constitution
    II. Objectionable Jurisprudential Commitments
    III. Disagreement over Legal Grounding
  5. Resisting Ordinary Reasons Imperialism
    I. Axes of Normative Relevance
    II. Normative Roles
    III. Rational Requirements, Asymmetry and Response-Constraint
    IV. Thick Evaluation, Global Judgement and Constitutive Impact
  6. The Metric Approach to Legal Normativity
    I. The Limits of the Metric Approach
    II. Legal Facts as Nexus Reasons
    A. The Influential Role of Legal Facts
    B. The Evaluative Role of Legal Facts
    C. The Explanatory Role of Legal Facts
  7. Two Levels of Disagreement about the Normativity of Law
    I. First-Order Disagreement about the Grounds of Nexus Facts
    II. Second-Order Disagreement about the Normativity of Legal Facts
    A. How Can a Legal Interpretivist Disagree with a Nexus Theorist?
    B. How Can a Plan Positivist Disagree with a Nexus Theorist?

Triantafyllos Gkouvas is Visiting Academic at the University of Glasgow, UK.

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