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Legal Reasons: Between Universalism and Particularism

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Chapter Summary

The author first analyses two incompatible philosophical models of reasons for action: universalism and particularism. He shows how each model conceives the notion of reason and to what extent their conceptual proposals affect notions of norm and norm-based reasoning. Norms and reasons can be defeated in different senses. These different kinds have scarcely analysed in either moral or legal theory. Norms and reasons can be defeated in different senses. He draws some relevant conclusions for legal theory. The discussion about the universalist or particularist character of legal reasons undertaken by legal philosophers is concerned about the difference between two kinds of norms: rules and principles. In this respect, he tries to show that many legal theories which explicitly endorse universalism implicitly reject some of its necessary presuppositions and commitments. In doing so, they are actually offering a non-universalist account of legal reasons.

Keywords: legal reasons; legal theory; particularism; universalism



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