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    This paper raises two methodological questions from a philosophical perspective: (i) what is involved in a functionalist approach to law and (ii) what should be the focus of such an approach? To answer these questions, I will take two steps with both. To begin with, I argue that Pettit’s view on functionalist approaches may be made relevant for law; functionalist accounts target a virtual mechanism that explains why a system will be resilient under changes in either the system or its environment. Secondly, I make a distinction between two interpretations of his key-concept ‘resilience’, one in mechanical, the other in teleological terms. With regard to the second question I will take two steps as well. I argue why it does not make sense to ascribe wide functions to law, followed by a plea for a limited view on the function of law. This limited view is based on a teleological understanding of the law’s resilience. I argue that these two modes are interrelated in ways that are relevant for the interdisciplinary study of law.


Bert van Roermund

    Vrijwel alle rechtenstudenten krijgen vroeg of laat in hun studie de opdracht om eens een kijkje te nemen bij de rechtbank. Er is echter niet of nauwelijks literatuur over hoe ze dat zouden kunnen aanpakken. Dit artikel beoogt in die leemte te voorzien. Het doel is om studenten methodologische bagage mee te geven, waarmee een observatieopdracht op een hoger niveau kan worden getild. Promovendi of andere onderzoekers die observatieonderzoek willen verrichten, kunnen daar ook hun voordeel mee doen.


Nienke Doornbos
Met dank aan Nina Holvast, Antoinette Muntjewerff en Rob Schwitters voor hun suggesties ter verbetering van een eerdere versie van dit artikel.
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Access_open Methodology and more…

Journal Law and Method, 2012
Authors Bald de Vries
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Bald de Vries
Bald de Vries is universitair docent Rechtstheorie aan de Faculteit Rechtsgeleerdheid van de Universiteit Utrecht en tevens redactielid van Recht en Methode.
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Access_open Grondslagen en methoden van juridisch onderwijs

Journal Law and Method, 2012
Keywords onderwijsmethode, theorieconcepties, Europeanisering, methodologische dilemma’s
Authors René Foqué
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    This article aims at elucidating some methodological dilemmas which should be taken seriously in legal education. It also aims at articulating the process of how these dilemmas emerged both historically and philosophically. The article starts with the observation that our Western legal systems are rooted in a specific theoretical tradition which can be described as being twofold. In a first already ancient (pre-philosophical) conception, theory finds its nexus both in experience and in narrativity, whereas a more modern conception of theory focuses on logical and conceptual coherence, building a system of professional knowledge. The author argues for a combination of both theoretical conceptions as complementary cornerstones of legal educational programs.The twofold theoretical background of our Western legal tradition can offer us a welcome and fruitful basis for dealing with some important methodological dilemmas: an anascopic (from action to institution) vs a katascopic (from institution to action) approach; deductive vs inductive reasoning; problem-oriented thinking vs systems thinking; case based/case oriented vs doctrinal/conceptual thinking. The author argues for a dialectical complementarity between the respective poles of these dilemmas.Finally, the author argues for introducing – already in an early stage of the program –European Union legal thinking as a challenging laboratory ‘in action’ for searching a reflective equilibrium in dealing with the aforementioned methodological dilemmas.


René Foqué
René Foqué is emeritus hoogleraar in de rechtsfilosofie en rechtstheorie aan de Faculteiten Rechtsgeleerdheid van de Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven en de Erasmus Universiteit te Rotterdam. Aan het European Inter University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation te Venetië doceert hij philosophy of human rights.
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