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Reconstructing Relativism. An Analysis of Radbruch's Philosophy of Law

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This paper aims at reconstructing Radbruch's relativistic conception of law within the framework of a model of principles. The idea of relativism remains a disputed issue in current legal and moral philosophy. In spite of the fact that Radbruch's legal philosophy lacks coherence, it includes elements that resemble modern conceptions of law as a system including principles to be balanced against each other. Therefore, a reconstruction within a model of principles might as well prove the fruitfulness of the model of principles as render a more appropriate theoretical framework for Radbruch's legal philosophy. After an outline of Radbruch's relativism, I will discuss some critical points of his approach and, subsequently, present a reconstruction according to the model of principles, which makes plausible at least some of Radbruch's contentions.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2009

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  • Archiv für Rechts- und Sozialphilosophie, edited by authorisation of the International Association for Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy (IVR), is an international, peer-reviewed journal, first published in 1907. It features original articles on philosophical research on legal and social questions, covering all aspects of social and legal life.
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