This book investigates the dynamic intertwinement of law and morality, with a focus on new and developing fields of law. Taking as its starting point the debates and mutual misunderstandings between proponents of different philosophical traditions, it argues that this theoretical pluralism is better explained once law is accepted as an essentially ambiguous concept. Continuing on, the book develops a robust theory of law that increases our grasp on global legal pluralism and the dynamics of law. This theory of legal interactionism, inspired by the work of Lon Fuller and Philip Selznick, also helps us to understand apparent anomalies of modern law, such as international law, the law of the European Convention on Human Rights and horizontal interactive legislation. In an ecumenical approach, legal interactionism does justice to the valuable core of truth in natural law and legal positivism. Shedding new light on familiar debates between authors such as Fuller, Hart and Dworkin, this book is of value to academics and students interested in legal theory, jurisprudence, legal sociology and moral philosophy.
Wibren van der Burg is Professor of Legal Philosophy at Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands. He has published extensively in English, German and Dutch.
’How should legal philosophy respond to a world of legal pluralism, relative partial authorities, and horizontal interactions among state, non-state, international, and transnational normative communities? Wibren van der Burg’s thoughtful new work articulates an emerging 21st century legal philosophy that eschews dogmatic definitions of what law is and instead melds theory and practice to focus on the key concept of interaction.’
Paul Schiff Berman, The George Washington University Law School, USA
’A tour de force. With great clarity and imagination van der Burg breaks out from the impasse of current philosophical debates on the relations of law and morality. Here at last is a book that roots legal philosophy firmly in the complex pluralism of the real world of law.’
Roger Cotterrell, Queen Mary University of London, UK
’Van der Burg’s recovery and development of legal interactionism is a fresh perspective on a host of familiar, and many novel, problems in law and legal theory. Instead of empirically unadorned attempts to discover universal attributes of law, this approach is undogmatic, indeed anti-dogmatic, pluralist, open to context, ambiguity, contingency, variation and empirical complexity. It is a rich and illuminating work.’
Martin Krygier, University of New South Wales, Australia ’
As an account of the dynamic dimensions of law, it offers a helpful balance to the often static pictures of law so prevalent in legal theory. And with its focus on non-state legal orders, and legal pluralism more generally, it offers a cutting edge view of where the next set of core questions for legal theory might lie. The book will be of significant interest to those concerned to see how non-state-centered legal theory might evolve.’
Law and Philosophy