Law and force: 20th century radical legal philosophy, post-modernism and the foundations of law

Res Publica 9 (1):19-37 (2003)
The foundations of law have been the object ofintense philosophical scrutiny since antiquity.Most importantly, it has been asked whetherthere are really any foundations other thansheer force to be found once more comfortingillusions are abandoned. This paperinvestigates four influential theorists ofradical legal philosophy and postmodern thought(Benjamin, Schmitt, Luhmann, Derrida) who dealwith this problem in comparable ways despitetheir different theoretical outlooks. Themerits of these theories having been assessed,mentalism in ethics and law is introduced as apossible alternative to both the widespreadfoundationalism of the past and theanti-foundationalism of the postmodern present.
Keywords Benjamin  Derrida  Luhmann  mentalism  post-modernism  scepticism  Schmitt
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DOI 10.1023/A:1022524509536
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