Universality and Normative Systems


  • Maria Cristina Redondo Tarello Institute for the Philosopy of Law, University of Genoa




Universal Legal Norms, Reasons for Action, Defeasibility, Normative Conflicts


This paper discusses a number of ideas put forward by Jorge Rodríguez in his book Teoría analítica del derecho in analyzing legal norms as reasons for action. First, I present a critique of Rodríguez's theses about what it means to adopt a universalist conception of the reasons that a legal system offers. In particular, I criticize the notion that a system of universal norms should necessarily be consistent and determine in each case a perfect balance between its norms that allows one to establish what should be done everything considered. Second, I criticize the distinction the author proposes between contestability problems related to the identification and application of legal norms as inconsistent with the universalist position he purports to advocate. Finally, some examples are given that attempt to show how a universalist conception of legal systems can explain the existence of conflicts between their universal norms without accepting that they are defeasible on the basis of extra-systematic considerations at the time of their application, that is, without abandoning the thesis that universal norms provide uniformly and invariably relevant reasons.





Analytical Theory of Law. A debate