On the Alleged Problem of Legal Normativity

  • Frederick SchauerEmail author
Part of the Law and Philosophy Library book series (LAPS, volume 130)


Many contemporary philosophers of law believe that one of the central problems of the field is that of explaining the normativity of law. But it is not clear that this is a problem at all, or at least that it is different from the problems that have been exhaustively addressed and analyzed for generations. Once we deconstruct the alleged problem of normativity into its component parts, we can appreciate that legal normativity is either conditional, or is instead but a small variation on age-old questions about the moral obligation, if any, to obey the law simply because of its status as law. There are interesting modern versions of these positions, but in the final analysis David Enoch is correct in labeling the problem of legal normativity as a “pseudo-problem.”



This paper was presented first at the workshop on “Law and Normativity: Cross-Disciplinary Dialogues in a Troubled Relation,” held at Queen Mary University of London on 19 May 2017 and organized by Noam Gur, and then at the special workshop on normativity organized by Christoph Bezemek and Nicoletta Ladavac at the IVR Congress in Lisbon on 18 July 2017. A previous version of this paper has been published in “Lo Stato” (2017) 8.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Virginia, School of LawCharlottesvilleUSA

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