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Understanding the Nature of Law

A Case for Constructive Conceptual Explanation Michael Giudice, Associate Professor of Philosophy, York University, Canada
Understanding the Nature of Law explores methodological questions about how best to explain law. Among these questions, one is central: is there something about law which determines how it should be theorized? This novel book explains the importance of conceptual explanation by situating its methods and goals in relation to, rather than in competition with, social scientific and moral theories of law.
Extent: 264 pp
Hardback Price: $125.00 Web: $112.50
Publication Date: 2015
ISBN: 978 1 78471 880 0
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Understanding the Nature of Law explores methodological questions about how best to explain law. Among these questions, one is central: is there something about law which determines how it should be theorized?

Michael Giudice presents the problem: several methods suggest themselves as suitable to understanding law; however, each method claims unique importance with no need of others. A solution is offered in two key claims. First, many conceptual theories of law are best understood not as the result of conceptual analysis, but as constructive conceptual explanations, emphasizing a crucial role for revision and expansion of ordinary concepts, in ways responsive to new problems and new phenomena. Second, conceptual theories of law can and ought to identify necessary as well as contingent features in the construction of conceptual explanations of law. This novel book explains the importance of conceptual explanation by situating its methods and goals in relation to, rather than in competition with, social scientific and moral theories of law.

The book will be of primary interest to both students and academics in legal, political, and moral philosophy. It will also be of interest to students and academics working in the social sciences who are interested in questions about the distinctive character of law
‘This is a superb book. Taking up the important debate on the role of conceptual analysis in legal theory, Giudice carefully articulates the competing positions and presents a clear-eyed and perspicuous account of conceptual analysis. This book is essential reading for anyone in legal theory.’
– Dennis Patterson, European University Institute, Italy
Contents: Preface PART I. BEYOND CONCEPTUAL ANALYSIS 1. Analytical Jurisprudence and its Discontents 2. Constructive Conceptual Explanation 3. Conceptual Explanation and Contingency 4. Analytical Jurisprudence and Necessity PART II. ILLUSTRATIONS 5. The Contingent Relation Between Invalidity and Unconstitutionality 6. Conceptual Explanation of European Union Law PART III. CONTINUITY IN LEGAL THEORY 7. Imperialism and Difference in Legal Theory 8. Participant Understanding and Legal Theory 9. Continuity in Legal Theory Conclusion: A Look Back and a Look Forward Index