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Legalism seen as a sort of blind rule following (often embodied in the metaphor of the “computer judge”) is often confused with legality, an altogether more reflexive and rational concept. But legality to work properly needs to be related to and articulate with the narrower concept of legalism. Only in the complex interaction of these concepts can we begin to see legality as a mode of organisation appropriate to a free and democratic society. This is here discussed in the context of the computational implementation of legal concepts which is now ubiquitous and makes the “computer judge” something more than a metaphor and instead a serious socio-legal issue, the regulation of cyberspace and other technology enhanced forms of human interaction.

Keywords: Computer; cyberspace; deontic logic; governance; legalism; legality; norms

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2007

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  • Legisprudence aims at contributing to the improvement of legislation by studying the processes of legislation from the perspective of legal theory. The content of the journal covers legislation in a broad sense. This comprises legislation in both the formal and the material sense (from national and European parliaments, regulation, international law), and alternatives to legislation (covenants, sunset legislation, etc.). It also takes in regulation (pseudo-legislation, codes of behaviour and deontological codes, etc.). The journal is theoretical and reflective. Contributions to the journal make use of an interdisciplinary method in legal theory. Comparative and system transcending approaches are encouraged. Sociological, historical, or economic studies are taken into account to the extent that they are relevant from the perspective of interdisciplinary legal theory. Dogmatic descriptions of positive law are not taken into consideration.
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