Correctness and Legitimacy in the Discourse Theory of Law

Cristina Lafont

in Institutionalized Reason

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199582068
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191739354 | DOI:
Correctness and Legitimacy in the Discourse Theory of Law

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This chapter focuses on the question of whether the discourse theory of law, as elaborated thus far by Jürgen Habermas and Robert Alexy, contains the resources needed to provide a satisfactory account of two important dimensions of the validity of social norms: their substantive correctness and the legitimacy of their enforcement in a particular political community. It is shown that while such a satisfactory account is indeed possible, the account requires important revisions to the standard interpretation of several assumptions of the discursive approach to legal theory. More specifically, a satisfactory account of the validity of norms requires a direct rejection of the antirealist interpretation of the discourse approach that Habermas has explicitly defended in recent years.

Keywords: discourse theory; social norms; correctness; enforcement; political community; legal theory; antirealist; Habermas

Chapter.  8862 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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