Naturalizing Alf Ross’s Legal Realism: A Philosophical Reconstruction

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In this article I address a pertinent challenge to Scandinavian realism which follows from the widespread perception that the fundamental philosophical premises on which the movement relies, are no longer tenable. Focusing on Alf Ross’s version of Scandinavian realism which has often been at the centre of critical attention I argue that his theory can survive the fall of logical positivism through an exercise of philosophical reconstruction. More specifically I argue that it is possible to dismount Ross’s realist legal theory almost intact from its commitments to logical positivism and embed it into an alternative naturalist philosophical program that is currently very strong in contemporary philosophy. In so doing, I apply a narrow Quinean conception of naturalism also known as replacement naturalism, which differs from a broader inclusive conception which has been applied by other scholars in the field but which leaves the philosophical crisis of Scandinavian realism unsolved.
Original languageEnglish
JournalRevus. Journal for Constitutional Theory and Legal Philosophy
Issue number24
Pages (from-to)165-186
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 2014

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Law - Alf Ross, Scandinavian realism, naturalized epistemology, naturalizing jurisprudence, W.V.O. Quine

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