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

Archiv für Rechts- und Sozialphilosophie 95 (1):14-27 (2009)
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Abstract

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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