Die Begegnung von Philosophie, Rechtsphilosophie und Rechts­wissenschaft

Aloïs Troller

Aloïs Troller, Die Begegnung von Philosophie, Rechtsphilosophie und Rechts­wissenschaft in: Die philosophischen Bemü­hungen des 20. Jahr­hunderts, Basel/ Stuttgart: Schwabe & Co., 1971, pp. 90-138.

Introduction/Historical Situation and Systematic Context

Aloïs Troller’s primary earnings are found in the domain of intellectual property rights. However, he had a strong and lifelong inclination towards legal philosophy. He was the first author in Switzerland to adopt the newer tendencies in philosophy, i.e. existentialism and phenomenology, as well as structuralism and to apply them fecundly to legal thought. The condensation of his occupation with existentialism, Troller laid down in his early introduction to jurisprudence, entitled “Legal Experience and Jurisprudence”, whereas his thoughts on phenomenological philosophy found its expression in the principal writing, entitled “Principles of Jurisprudence, Applicable Everywhere” from 1965; later, in 1975, he also published a classical writing on legal methodology, entitled “Foundations of a Self-Understanding Legal Methodology and Legal Philosophy”. Moreover, the relation between the disciplines of philosophy, legal philosophy and jurisprudence have been treated by the same author in a monography from 1971. All together, these writings stand for the so to say second high tide of legal philosophy, after the early pre-war culmination in Eugen Huber and Walther Burkhardt.

Concerning the main theories, we should refer to the extensively discussed writings by Aloïs Troller, i.e. to the “Introduction”, as well as to the “Principles of Jurisprudence” (see nos. 1.14 and 2.14 of this Legal Anthology).

Content, Abstracts/Conclusions, Insights, Evidence

In a monography covering more than 200 pages, entitled “The Encounter of Philosophy, Legal Philosophy, and Jurisprudence”, Aloïs Troller describes the inter-relations between the disciplines in case in an original manner, by producing a dialogical scenery between the three actors. Out of this opera, we have selected the passage, where the encountering participants express their statements. The important thing is, that these statements are included in a dialogical conversation, that they are equilibrated by dialectical procedure. Also, such a dialogue is meant to occur within a subjective consciousness, as a reasonable reflection of all arguments that have been put forward. “Der Rechtsphilosoph kommt zuerst zum Wort. Er schildert das Anliegen so, wie er es gesehen hat und wie er annimmt, dass der Philosoph die Probleme erkennen könne. Der Rechtswissenschafter zeigt ergänzend besondere Probleme, die er lösen muss, um die Rechtsordnung besser überblicken, verstehen, darstellen und an ihrer Verbesserung wissender arbeiten zu können. Hierauf kommt der Philosoph zu Wort. Er hat am meisten zu sagen, weil die beiden anderen darnach streben, von ihm zu lernen und nicht aus ihm einen Juristen zu machen”. In conclusion, this dialogue only makes sense, if all participants are not only trying to convince the others, but also willing to be convinced by the others. The whole situation is based on mutual respect of the three actors, and on the fact that they remain themselves, so that we encounter a true inter-disciplinary dialogue. In his early writings, Troller had put the stress and the main burden of argumentation on Jurisprudence, whereas at this place he seems to consider philosophy the leading discipline in the context of the inter-disciplinary discourse.

In the course of such an enterprise of dialog, there are obstacles however, that can prohibit a profound discourse and sound dialogue. Not all currents within the historical development of philosophy offer themselves as possible interlocutors and not every representative of jurisprudence is to be set on legal thought that would enable an encounter with philosophical thinkers. In addition, philosophers are seeking truth, are criticising apparent cognition and they are impeaching dogmatical knowledge, above all, whereas jurisprudents are inclined to dogmatical thought, and incline to all too solid conceptualisations. Moreover, the abysses between different legal cultures have to be bridged, and the impediments between different communities of languages have to be overcome. These restraints and restrictions have to be taken seriously, indeed.

Further Information About the Author

Aloïs Troller, born 15 May 1906 in Wilihof, died 15 May 1987 in Luzern, graduated in Freiburg in 1837, after having studied jurisprudence at the Universities of Berne and Basel. He also followed his musical studies as a singer in Munich. From 1950 onwards, he taught as a private lecturer at the University of Freiburg, where he was entitled professor of intellectual property between 1957 and 1976, as well as of legal philosophy between 1971 and 1978. Above all he influenced the development of intellectual property rights in Europe by his eminent work in two volumes “Intellectual Property Law” (“Immaterialgüterrecht”; 3. ed. 1983-1985).

His philosophical thought was mainly influenced by phenomenology, whose insights he tried to apply to jurisprudence.

For further information, as well as for a complete bibliography, please refer to:

Werner Krawietz/ Walter Ott (Ed.): Formalismus und Phänomenologie im Rechtsdenken der Gegenwart, 1987.

Selected Works of the Same Author

Aloïs Troller: Die Aufgabe der Rechtsphilosophie, in: Schweizerische Juristen-Zeitung, vol. 69 (1973), pp. 97 ss.; Idem: Überall gültige Prinzipien der Rechts­wissenschaft, Frankfurt am Main/ Berlin: Alfred Metzner, 1965 (extract); Idem: Rekon­struktion und Rechts­wirk­lichkeit – Ein Beitrag zu einem kritischen Rechtsrealismus, in: Rechts­theorie, vol. 11 (1980), vol. 2, pp. 137 ss.

For Further Reading

Aloïs Troller: Jurisprudenz auf dem Holzwege, in: Schriftenreihe der Internationalen Gemeinschaft für Urheberrecht, vol. 13, Berlin/ Frankfurt am Main, 1959; Idem: Eugen Hubers Allgemeingültige Rechtsphilosophie, in: Gedächtnisschrift für Peter Jäggi, ed. Bernhard Schneider and Peter Gauch, Freiburg im Üechtland: Universitätsverlag, 1977.


You can find a scan (PDF) of the original text here: Troller Begegnung.