Validity and defeasibility in the legal domain

Law and Philosophy 29 (5):601 - 626 (2010)
Abstract
In jurisprudential literature, the adjective 'defeasible' appears as a predicate of many terms: concepts, laws, rules, reasoning, justification, proof, and so on. In this paper, we analyze the effects of some versions of the thesis of the defeasibility of legal norms on the reconstruction of the notion of legal validity. We analyze some possible justifications of this thesis considered as a claim concerning validity, and enquire into two possible sets of problems related to the defeasibility of the criteria of identification of a legal system. We also provide a formalization of some options regarding defeasible criteria of identification, which can be used as a tool for meta-jurisprudential analysis. Finally, the thesis according to which defeasibility is better conceived of as a feature of legal application is examined and questioned
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