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Legalist Fictions and the Problem of Scientific Legitimation

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The author analyzes fictions of legal positivist philosophy and their role in the scientific legitimation of modern law and political domination. The original function of legalist fictions was the establishment of legal science, which would be autonomous and independent of other social sciences and public morality. In the second half of the 20th century, legal positivist philosophy has nevertheless adopted the fiction of the just law as its scientific legitimation fiction and incorporated moral and political discourse into legal science, again.

Legal positivism and its critiques within the discourse of the sociology of law and critical legal science keep the image of a hierarchical and centralized legitimation of law. Paradoxically, current legal philosophy and theory searching for a universally valid legitimation scheme is full of many different legitimations and reveals their growing plurality and the impossibility of establishing one sovereign legitimation scheme in the current social, theoretical and political condition.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Cardiff Law School, University of Wales, UK

Publication date: March 1, 2003

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