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Law and Philosophy$
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Michael Freeman and Ross Harrison

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199237159

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199237159.001.0001

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Six Paths to Vertigo-free Legal Theory

Six Paths to Vertigo-free Legal Theory

Chapter:
(p.36) 2 Six Paths to Vertigo-free Legal Theory
Source:
Law and Philosophy
Author(s):

Sylvie Delacroix

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199237159.003.0002

Legal theorists dread a particular kind of vertigo, commonly striking those who, looking for some solid ground on which to base their evaluative outlook, find nothing but a congruence of seemingly random subjectivities. If there is nothing to our moral commitments but a contingent balance of interests and desires, how can the law ever stand on firm ground when it has to refer to such commitments in order to settle controversial cases? No one expressed this vertiginous feeling more candidly than Montaigne. His critique of the natural law model was inaugural not only in the challenge it raised but also, most remarkably, in the strategy deployed to recoil from it. This chapter discusses six ways of avoiding the vertigo described above, starting with Montaigne's ‘mystical move’.

Keywords:   Montaigne, mystical move, natural law model

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