“Auch bei der kritischsten Einstellung dem schweizerischen Denken gegenüber bleibt der allgemeine Eindruck, den man im Verkehr mit den Schweizern von der Eigenart ihres Denkens gewinnt, derjenige einer diesem schweizerischen Denken eigentümlichen Sachlichkeit. [...] Wer daher in der Philosophie nichts anderes sucht als eine Begründung der Wissenschaft, wird kaum geneigt sein, den Schweizern eine eigene Philosophie oder auch nur einen ausgesprochenen Sinn für Philosophie zuzusprechen.”
(Anna Tumarkin: Wesen und Werden der Schweizerischen Philosophie, 1948)
General Introduction (Common Sense): Highlights of Modern Legal Thought in Switzerland – Historical Circumstances, Sociocultural Setting and Basic Approach
Preliminary Remark – Tradition of Swiss Legal Philosophy
From the beginning of and during the twentieth century, there has been a constant occupation with questions of legal philosophy and general jurisprudence in Switzerland that turns out to be characteristically Swiss in its content and particularly Swiss in its approach. Jurisprudence has always been inclined to legal philosophy when it has become veritable practical, when it has been forced to deepen its philosophically reflective thought. Such has been the case on several occasions, for instance in the course of constitution-making or the codification of private law, dealing with methodological alternatives, by the rise of sociology, by the renaissance of natural law after the Second World War, or refusing totalitarian interpretations of the political philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
The occupation with legal philosophical thought has been undertaken, developed and evolved by jurisprudents, by university teachers and lawyer as well as judges. In the case of Switzerland, it has been less a matter dealt with mainly by academic and professional philosophers, as one could assume. The charge of formally reading legal philosophy at Swiss universities has scarcely been attributed to representatives of penal law, as this is the case in the tradition of German legal scholarship. Rather, the occupation with legal philosophy has been adopted as a voluntary exercise, and it has been referred to on the occasion of celebrations and jubilees.
The Specific Cultural Setting of Switzerland
The basis for a specific and yet differentiated Swiss legal philosophical thought is defined by the unique geographical and cultural situation of Switzerland. During the nineteenth century, mainly French and German cultural life has deeply and profoundly influenced the development of the evolving Swiss Federal State. Both the well-established positivism in France as well as the so-called Historical School of Law in Germany, have had, in particular, a predominant influence on Swiss legal thought and jurisprudence, and the same holds for the monarchical welfare state in Austria. Within the Federal and democratic context of Switzerland, these influences, however, have been adapted and eventually brought to a certain equilibrium, although several disparities have not been bridged for a while (the concurring traditions of French administrative law and German public law for example). As of 1861 onwards, the Swiss experience has somehow been similar to the one in Italy, in succession of the so-called Risorgimento, i.e. the successful unification of the Italian nation state.
To some extent, the cultural constellation of Switzerland within the European cultural community has evolved to a melting pot of different and diverse developments in the history of political ideals as well as on the ground of spiritual life and the history of ideas. Confrontation with these traditions and developments in practice and in theory must have induced and inspired Swiss representatives of Jurisprudence to elaborate and propagate original and inventive theories and propositions. In any case, a vivid sensibility has been established with regard to social structure, different cultural foundations or highly differentiated political inclinations, altogether calling for an adequate legislation and a highly sophisticated jurisprudence.
To some extent, the cultural philosophical approach exceeds the outreach of legal philosophical arguments, and is contributing to increasing complexity, at the same time. Hereby, based on the groundwork of Neo-Kantianism, the gain in insight is limited, in conclusion. Despite the fruitful contributions of representatives like Wilhelm Dilthey and Ernst Cassirer, cultural philosophy and cultural science may lead to relativism, when applied in the domain of legal philosophy, if this lack is not compensated and corrected by other scientific methods and philosophical systems.
Leading representatives of the cultural approach to legal philosophy and history in Switzerland are the jurisprudents Peter Häberle and Marcel Senn as well as the philosopher Elmar Holenstein.
Characteristics of Swiss Legal Philosophical Thought
The motto of common sense, opening this general introduction, attributes to the leading figures in Switzerland a particular sense to orientate their thoughts and judgment towards the relevant material, practicality and dispassion. This apparent quality is often addressed as pragmatism and as an inclination to concordance. Holding a strict understanding of philosophy, one can legitimately ask the question of whether and how the political system and the legal order can be treated in a philosophical way or with scientific methods of proper philosophy. However, regarding more closely and deeply, this deficiency of consistency appears as a specifically Swiss virtue, enabling to work out practical solutions to political and legal problems.
The challenge of being exposed to different and diverse cultural settings has always guided political philosophical as well as legal philosophical thought in Switzerland to reassure itself in contrast to concurring and dissenting opinions and theories, contributing to an elevated self-consciousness and a stronger self-confidence. However, this situation also contributes to an ongoing irritation and uncertainty as well as to a constant questioning of the once achieved solutions. This situation assures that jurisprudence will not get lost in the spheres of theory, but rather remain in close contact to the practice, to respond to the demands of practical life. As a result, one can identify a strong inclination of typically Swiss legal and political thought towards the fundament of everyday life, according to the claims established by the so-called life philosophy (which is also ascertained by Anna Tumarkin, the author of the motto, having been a student of Wilhelm Dilthey in Berlin; see entry 10.2 of this Legal Anthology).
Idealist disposition, Respect Towards Historical, Social and Federal Institutions, Orientation Towards Practice
The main influence on legal philosophical theory-building in Switzerland has definitely been idealist philosophical systems, mainly Neo-Kantianism, as represented by Rudolf Stammler, to whom Eugen Huber and Walther Burckhardt have dedicated their respective thoughts (whereas Dietrich Schindler, senior, is dedicated to Hegelianism). However, this general disposition has been directed to social and political practice and abstract ideas have been referred to practically working solutions for the demands of the legal community.
In the French-speaking part of Switzerland, an inclination towards French-style positivism, on the one hand, and natural law theory, respectively, Thomism, on the other hand, can be encountered (Ernest-Alexandre Roguin, Jean Darbellay). Despite their diametrically different and much diverse origins, these approaches are also directed to practicable solutions for reality-oriented problems. In the final analysis, they even converge with the above-mentioned idealist movements.
The core ideas, which arrived to combine these influences in a first period, i.e. until the Second World War, are to be found in freedom and democracy, and in deep respect towards the historically grown social and political institutions. Eminent representatives of public and international law thus show a decisive interest in political theory and upcoming political sciences (William E. Rappard, Carl Hilty).
Later, an enhanced pluralism can be detected, due to the newly elaborated philosophical positions of phenomenology, existentialism, structuralism and beyond, leading to concurring, rather to conflicting, to syncretistic, rather than dissenting approaches in the domain of legal philosophical thought in Switzerland (Hans Ryffel, Aloïs Troller). Other exponents have contributed much to the development of constitutional theory and constitution-making (Max Imboden, Richard Bäumlin, Peter Saladin, Jörg Paul Müller).
Some Remarks to the Sociocultural Background
Switzerland has always been a country of immigrants, and among them also members of the European intelligence of different cultural provenances. They have brought their modes of thought, their own cultural backgrounds, their languages together with their possibilities of expression, and their general ideas and specific theories along with them. In the region of the Léman, there has always been an immigration not only of French Protestants but also of representatives of theoretical movements neglected or persecuted in France. In the German-speaking part of Switzerland, there has been a large number of politically persecuted people immigrating from Germany (“Vor-März”, 1848 Movement, radical Liberals, and last but not least Jewish people). In the period of Fin-de-Siècle, there has been a considerable number of Russian members of the intelligentsia (many of them women) who emigrated to Switzerland.
Early accentuations of sociology (Geneva, Berne), psychology (Basel) and political science (Basel, Zurich) have been established within Swiss Universities mainly thanks to immigrant academic scholars. Among them we can name, for instance, Arthur Baumgarten, who has been naturalised in Switzerland due to marriage, and who has laid the groundwork of legal philosophy at the Universities of Geneva, and mainly Basel, by publishing relevant scientific works, before leaving for the newly founded German Democratic Republic after the Second World War. Generally speaking, these scholars have enriched Swiss legal culture in many instances and contributed to its specific characteristics.
On the Impact of Sociology on Legal Philosophical Thought
Additional examples for the immigration of academic scholars into Switzerland concern the discipline of sociology. At the University of Geneva, Louis Wuarin and his successors have established the discipline in the tradition of French positivism, dating back to Auguste Comte. At the Institute in Lausanne, Vilfredo Pareto has laid a strong accent on sociology, later leading to political economics. Earlier, before the turn of the Nineteenth Century, Ludwig Stein, a Jew originating from Czech Republic, after having been a Rabbi in Berlin, has been called to the University in order to teach philosophy with a strong inclination to sociology.
Without any doubt, these influences have much contributed to the sensitiveness of legal philosophy for social phenomenon and socio-political developments in the country. The leading figure creating awareness of the social question, via socialist movement, to social democracy and the social welfare-state in Switzerland has been Robert Grimm, who evolved from a communist activist, organising two international conferences in Zimmerwald and Kiental, to the trade-union leader of the “Oltener Aktionskomitee” in the so-called “Landesstreik”, and further to a leading socio-democratic politician in the Federal Parliament, and a member of the Executive Counsel of the Canton of Berne.
An interest in sociology also appears and is addressed by the theory of the sources of law or when the underlying structure of the political community is discussed in the domain of public and especially constitutional law. An eminent role has been dedicated to the sociological structure of the international community by Max Huber, when he elaborated his eminent contribution on the sociological basis of the international law.
Legal History and the Historicity of Legal Order
Legal order can only be made consistent and persistent within the limits of social dynamics and historical progress. At the same time, the legal order also prevents some of its fundamental values to be overruled simply by changing attitudes. From this twofold function of the law between preservation and change results a tension that must be confronted by legal philosophy.
Often, legal history stands for depicting the historical development of jurisprudence, and in that case presents an interesting subject for legal philosophical considerations. But only the mere historicity of the law, and even more the dynamic character of the legal order, present an important field for legal philosophical investigations in their own right. Yet, once the actors are rebound to the political system and to the legal order (which is the case in a democratic order), the dynamics within the perspective of history can no longer be neglected by general jurisprudence and legal philosophy.
The core question amounts to how the legal order can or should be represented as an evolving and developing order. If such progress is considered to be a part of natural history, which is the case in natural law theory or by evolutionary theories, the question cannot be answered satisfactorily. Rather, such a development has to be discussed in terms of the history of the spirit, within the history of ideas, leading to a truly philosophical perspective.
This current of thought is represented by Alfred Dufour and Pio Caroni, among others, in Switzerland.
Legal philosophy is often associated with methodological questions by practising lawyers and judges. Certainly, legal philosophy can help to resolve questions of how legal norms must be interpreted and how the legal order can obtain a consistent and systematic structure. However, legal philosophy goes far beyond the limits of legal methodology, and one could even argue that true philosophy starts at the very point where scientific methodology comes to an end. That is to say, the task of a truly philosophical jurisprudence consists in overcoming methodological questions, left over to be treated within the domain of dogmatic jurisprudence. In this sense, Legal philosophy by far transcends juridical dogmatism. The reason for such an attempt is founded in the fact that legal philosophical argumentation in general has to be free of assumptions and suppositions (“voraussetzungsfrei”). If practised along this ambitious demand and claim, legal philosophy turns out to be a domain within the disciplines of the human sciences.
The borders of mere methodology are left behind where questions of system-building arise, or when the scientific character of jurisprudence is questioned, or when epistemological questions are addressed, or when the inherent formalism is broken through by means of material truth, or when the location of jurisprudence within the system of scientific disciplines is discussed.
The limits of stand-alone jurisprudence are also surpassed when all kinds of mutual relations between the legal order and social reality are taken into consideration. This occurs regularly when the constitutional order is brought into relation with the claims resulting from the political theory of democracy.
Eminent Representatives of Swiss Legal Culture in the Domains of General Jurisprudence and Legal Philosophy
Before entering more detail, let us reconsider the main exponents of Swiss legal culture – some of them have already been briefly mentioned hereinabove – together with their major and eminent achievements:
- Eugen Huber, the principal architect of the 1912 Swiss Civil Code, discussed problems of legal philosophy in the course of legislation, respectively, codification in his masterwork “Recht und Rechtsverwirklichung” from 1920, preceded by contributions on “Bewährte Lehre” (1910) and on “Realien der Gesetzgebung” (1913), and before concluding with reflections on the schematic structure of legal philosophy, entitled “Das Absolute im Recht” (1922);
- Walther Burckhardt shifted the focus on the underlying structure of legal order in his main contribution about “Die Organisation der Rechtsgemeinschaft” in 1927, discussing problems of private, constitutional and international legal order;
- Dietrich Schindler (senior) intensified this approach in the light of dialectics, and elaborated a theory of the relations between the constitutional order and the social structure in his book “Verfassungsrecht und soziale Struktur” from 1932, with further fragmentary texts, published as “Zum Wiederaufbau der Rechtsordnung” in 1948;
- Ernest-Alexandre Roguin, on the basis of his former book on “Étude de science juridique pure” published in 1889, made his contribution to a pure theory of law in his three-volume magistral work entitled “La science juridique pure” in 1923;
- Claude Du Pasquier wrote an “Introduction à la théorie générale et à la philosophie du droit” in 1937;
- Arthur Baumgarten, a prolific, however not very inspiring, author exclusively on legal philosophy, published among others two volumes on “Die Wissenschaft vom Recht und ihre Methode” in 1920 and 1922 as well as the article in the German handbook of philosophy, simply entitled “Rechtsphilosophie” published in 1934;
- William E. Rappard, a thoroughly international spirit, living in Geneva, delivered a political historical work on “L’individu et l’État dans l’évolution constitutionelle de la Suisse” in 1936, and contributed to the history of ideas with his “L’avènement de la démocratie moderne à Genève” from 1942;
- Hans Ryffel inaugurated the renaissance of natural law theory with his contribution “Das Naturrecht – Ein Beitrag zu seiner Kritik und Rechtfertigung vom Standpunkt grundsätzlicher Philosophie” in 1944, and later turned to a political anthropological view in his book “Grundprobleme der Rechts- und Staatsphilosophie” published in 1965;
- Jean Darbellay wrote his promotion thesis at the Catholic University of Fribourg about “La règle juridique de la société politique – Son fondement moral et social” in 1945, combining classical Thomist tradition with modern sociological theory;
- Werner Kägi appeared as a trendsetter when he inaugurated the material understanding of the constitution in his habilitation thesis “Die Verfassung als rechtliche Grundordnung des Staates – Untersuchungen über die Entwicklungstendenzen im modernen Verfassungsrecht” in 1945, before he wrote on “Rechtsstaatliche Demokratie” in 1953, trying a reconciliation of the rule of law and democracy;
- Max Imboden, a delicate and distinguished writer, elaborated a psychological contribution to the forms of government “Versuch einer psychologischen Deutung staatsrechtlicher Dogmen” in 1959, followed by “Die politischen Systeme” from 1962, and held attended conferences on “Helvetisches Malaise” in 1937, and on “Rousseau und die Demokratie” in 1963;
- Richard Bäumlin debuted with a study on “Die rechtsstaatliche Demokratie – Eine Untersuchung der gegenseitigen Beziehungen von Demokratie und Rechtsstaat” published in 1954, continuting with “Recht, Staat und Geschichte – Eine Studie zum Wesen des geschichtlichen Rechts” in 1962, before evolving with his contribution to „Lebendige oder gebändigte Demokratie? Demokratisierung, Verfassung und Verfassungsrevision” in 1978, and concluding with an eminent essay on “Jean-Jacques Rousseau und die Theorie des demokratischen Rechtsstaates” in 1979;
- Aloïs Troller, a practising lawyer and academic teacher in the domain of intellectual property law, has regularly shown his intent to introduce contemporary philosophical trends into legal philosophy, debuting with “Überall gültige Prinzipien der Rechtswissenschaft” from 1965, preceded by an introduction to jurisprudence for beginners, entitled “Rechtserlebnis und Rechtspflege” in 1962, continuing with an interdisciplinary contribution on “Die Begegnung von Philosophie, Rechtsphilosophie und Rechtswissenschaft” in 1972, and concluding with the principal work on “Grundriss einer selbstverständlichen juristischen Methode und Rechtsphilosophie” in 1972.
Of course, this limited enumeration does not cover all well-known contributors to legal philosophy in Switzerland, nor do they refer to all of their specific contributions. Moreover, the listing does not cover the contributions up to date, but terminates with the old school representatives of jurisprudence, in our understanding. Rather, the list is to be meant as an overview over the rich tradition of general jurisprudence and legal philosophy in Switzerland, as to be further elaborated in the following comments on the selected entries of this “Anthology of Swiss Legal Culture”, in the domain of “Legal Philosophy and General Jurisprudence”.
Structure and Content – Abstracts of the Sections
In the following, the structure and content of the partition on “Legal Philosophy and General Jurisprudence” of this “Anthology of Swiss Legal Culture” is summarised in short abstracts:
- In a preliminary section, fundamental elements of the pre-history of modern Swiss legal philosophical thought is presented. A reconciliation of concurring jurisdictions and a combination of scientific disciplines or methods can be identified as guidelines of the initial constellation of Swiss legal thought.
- First section: Swiss legal culture is introduced as a melting pot of modern philosophical influences, in a presentation and discussion of the main contributions of the eminent representatives of legal thought in Switzerland. We encounter overlapping influences of Neo-Kantianism, Hegelianism, realism, pragmatism, existentialism, phenomenology and beyond lasting relicts of natural law theory and Thomism, respectively Scholastic. These fundaments of philosophical system-building find reception in a very original and fecund way by Swiss Jurisprudence.
- Second section: The enduring occupation of general jurisprudence with methodological questions and with the scientific character of jurisprudence is discussed on the occasion of contributions that tend to overcome the dogmatic inclination of jurisprudence. This occurs before the background of the controversies between positivism and natural law, between monism and dualism. In this situation, the pluralist alternative of human studies may provide a guidance for a truly philosophical treatment of fundamental questions of jurisprudence.
- Third section: In Swiss legal philosophy, there can be detected a strong tendency to understand legal structures as an integrative part of cultural phenomenon, leading to an interdisciplinary approach. This attempt raises, however, the crucial question, to be addressed to the philosophically reflected theory of science, as to what shall be the appropriate location of jurisprudence within the system of scientific disciplines.
- Fourth section: Legal history and the concept of the historicity of legal order are treated within the context of the Swiss legal culture. The critical question relates to the problem on which understanding of history such approaches are based, whether it is to be a naturalist conception of history or a historicist philosophy of history.
- Fifth section: Public law theory in Switzerland presents rich insights into the philosophical dimensions of the rule of law and constitutionalism as well as federalism.
- Sixth section: Swiss theories of (direct or semi-direct) democracy and Swiss political thought are addressed and participation and representation in a strong civil society discussed.
- Seventh section: Jurisprudence can be claimed as the oldest social science, due to its close connection to sociological concepts. In this context, the so-called social question, the rise and development sociology, the controversy about socialism, the conceptualisation of Swiss social democracy as well as of the Swiss social state show of great importance.
- Eighth section (to be completed): Openness, permeability and transception of Swiss legal thought are identified as core characteristics of Swiss legal philosophical thought.
- Ninth section (to be completed): Realism, Pragmatism and Pluralism are to be addressed as main virtues of Swiss legal culture.
- In the final section (to be completed), eventually, a turn back to the future will have to be accomplished. We argue in favour of a reconstruction of modernity, and against post-modern dis-integration. In conclusion, the main contemporary inclinations, tendencies and prospectives of Swiss legal thought will have to be indicated.
- In a first appendix (to be elaborated), eminent contributions of philosophers in the proper sense, i.e. specialised in legal and political philosophy, with respect to Switzerland are discussed, and the debate among proper philosophers themselves outlined.
- In a second appendix, an extended bibliography is listed for further reading.
Michael Walter Hebeisen: Schweizer Juristen-Philosophen – Eine eigenständige schweizerische Tradition der Wissenschaftsphilosophie der Jurisprudenz und der Staatslehre in Auseinandersetzungen mit ausgewählten Strömungen der Rechts- und der Staatsphilosophie sowie der Wissenschaftstheorie in der ersten Hälfte des Zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts (Eine programmatische Skizze für ein interdisziplinäres Forschungsvorhaben), in: Jahrbuch des öffentlichen Rechts der Gegenwart, N. S. vol. 50, ed. Peter Häberle, Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr/Siebeck, 2002, pp. 69-100.
“Die Philosophen haben die Welt nur verschieden interpretirt, es kömmt drauf an sie zu verändern.”
(Karl Marx: 11th thesis on Ludwig Feuerbach; inscription at the entry of Humboldt-University in Berlin)
General Introduction (Philosophical, Scientific): Highlights of Modern Legal Thought in Switzerland – Historical Circumstances, Sociocultural Setting and Basic Approach
Preliminary Remark – Tradition of Swiss Legal Philosophy
From the beginning of and during the Twentieth Century, there has been a constant occupation with questions of legal philosophy and general jurisprudence in Switzerland that turns out to be characteristic Swiss in its content and particularly Swiss in its approach. I have already outlined this specific tradition of Swiss legal thought in an essay published in the jubilee 50th volume of the “Yearbook of Public Law” (Michael Walter Hebeisen: Schweizer Juristen-Philosophen – Eine eigenständige schweizerische Tradition der Wissenschaftsphilosophie, der Jurisprudenz und der Staatslehre in Auseinandersetzung mit ausgewählten Strömungen der Rechts- und der Staatsphilosophie, sowie der Wisseschaftsphilosophie in der ersten Hälfte des Zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts, in: Jahrbuch des Öffentlichen Rechts der Gegenwart, N. S. vol. 50, Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr, 2002, pp. 69-100; see entry 1.20 of this Legal Anthology). Yet, this general observation has to be specified and restricted in three ways:
(1) First, there has always been attempts to reflect the law and the legal order in terms of philosophical concepts in Switzerland. However, these attempts have merely been isolated and incoherent, and not permanent nor coherent, even if there are also ruptures and high tides within the development in the twentieth century;
(2) Second, this occupation has to be embedded in the European history of legal thought, even if it shows a specific Swiss character;
(3) Third, these contributions have mainly been elaborated by jurisprudents, lawyers and judges, and not by representatives of the academic discipline of philosophy.
Let us briefly consider these aspects in more detail:
Jurisprudence and Legal Philosophy Turn Truly Philosophical When They Become Practical
In the beginning of the twentieth century, or rather towards the conclusion of the nineteenth century, in so-called Fin-de-Siècle, a change of paradigm occurs in the domain of general jurisprudence and philosophy of law, that is generally not sufficiently prised by legal studies and legal theory. This eminent turn appears at a time and with a generation of jurisprudents is called to codify the law, at a moment, when time had then eventually proved to be mature and ready for legislation qua codification. Accordingly, the motto now had become “the convene of our time to legislation” (compare the contrary judgment in the early nineteenth century by Friedrich Carl von Savigny: Vom Beruf unserer Zeit für Gesetzgebung und Rechtswissenschaft, 1814). This turning point is the very moment and constellation, when lawyers and jurisprudents become legal philosophers because they have to reflect about the pre-conditions for the codification of the legal order, identify the realities of law as well as judge the realisation of legislation.
In the domain of public law, the foundation of the Swiss Federal State has been merely discussed in terms of political philosophy and the history of political ideas, from 1848 onwards. However, generally speaking, such situations, when jurisprudence goes practise, occur more frequently in public law, namely on the occasion of partial revisions of the Swiss Federal Constitution and in even greater extent on the occasion of total revisions of the Constitution, for example in 1874. Just another illustrative example in the domain of public law, where jurisprudence is called to be creative, inventive and, therefore, philosophically reflective, is the interpretation of legal equality, the equal state of citizens before the law, and especially the protection of arbitrariness during the first decades of the twentieth century (compare Michael Walter Hebeisen: Die Konnexität von Freiheit und Gleichheit (sechs Vorlesungen), in: Der lange Weg zu Freiheit und Gleichheit, ed. Anna Maria Diemut Majer, Wien: WUV – Universitätsverlag, 1995, pp. 135-253).
In Switzerland, this turn or change in paradigm happens to coincide with the early beginnings and culmination of an original way to understand legal philosophy by lawyers and jurisprudents. These eminent representatives of practical jurisprudence all reflect the truth that law asks to be realised, accomplished and fulfilled has to become true, and must, therefore, be effective (see Pietro Piovani: Il significato del principio di effetttività, Milano: A. Giuffrè, 1953, in german translation: Die Bedeutung des Prinzips der Wirksamkeit, in: Ausgewählte Werke von Pietro Piovani, ed. Michael Walter Hebeisen, vol. 8, Biel/ Bienne: Schweizerischer Wissenschafts- und Universitätsverlag 2012, pp. 7-251). To understand the law and the legal order in its specific normative character means to take the direction towards a state of human and social behaviour seriously that should be achieved. A legal norm fulfils this task best, when it is made positive, i.e. codified; such objectivation, however, does not mean to render the normative factual, but rather to found a specific state of being, whereby the legal norm can raise its inherent claim to be valid and that means at the same time to be effective.
Hereby, the core subject of our investigations is approximately outlined already. Let us continue to discuss the second and third restrictions or specifications of the general statement made at the very beginning:
The Provenance and Ubiquity of Philosophy – History of Ideas in Europe, Reception of Laws and Influences on Legal Orders
When we talk about Swiss legal philosophy and Swiss general jurisprudence, we should have always in mind that philosophy itself cannot and does not have a specific national disposition, but rather has to be qualified as universal, in consequence of its orientation towards the absolute, towards truth. However, a particular inclination or connotation characterises the diverse historical development in specific countries, in function of the history of philosophical thought and of culture in general. To the last extent, Swiss legal thought always means legal philosophy in Switzerland. This insight is evidently developed by Bertrando Spaventa in his inaugural lecture at the University of Naples from 1861, within the context of Italian Risorgimento, and with respect the nationalistic movement that leaded to the foundation of the unified nation state of Italy (La filosofia italiana nelle sue relazioni con la filosofia europea, in: Zwei Antrittsvorlesungen und Vorlesungen zur Geschichte der Philosophie in Italien und in Europa, in: Ausgewählte Werke von Bertrando Spaventa, ed. Michael Walter Hebeisen, Biel/ Bienne: Schweizerischer Wissenschafts- und Universitätsverlag, 2018, pp. 55-88). In the domain of philosophical thought, time and place must necessarily be taken relative; moreover, the history of ideas does not necessarily follow a defined direction of progress, on the contrary there is a kind of continuum of knowledge and wisdom, that is actualised according to the demands of historical circumstances.
In this view, geographical reception has also to be questioned: personal relations decide on what content is replaced, how it is altered and adapted to the new place, where it is meant to cause considerable effect. The specific situation at a given place and time, the situation or constellation of historical knowledge and practical experience fall out different, diverse and this turns out to be of great relevance for the interpretation and adaptation of legal thought within a national context. This is due to the fact that the individual, the concrete is the veritable universal, not the abstract. Therefore, objective entities do not permit one to found a theory of practice, legal thought must on the contrary be founded on specific legal experience and on a particular consciousness of law. This truth must not lead to the misunderstanding of national reference of the process of Reception. Rather, each kind of influence has to be considered carefully and judged with cautiously, for only in that case it can become an act of true legal experience and legal-philosophical consciousness. This process often happens subcutaneously, and subtle reception is frequently only identified, when it comes to a considerable adaption in comparison with the source. The reception of Roman law in German Kaiserreich, for instance, shows a very special structure in any respect, leading to Pandectism and eventually to the codification of the “Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch (BGB)”.
To place a certain text within an altered context necessarily leads to the characteristic contextualism of legal-philosophical thought. Within such a differentiated situation, the facility of judgment takes an eminent role (see Pierre Bourdieu: Die feinen Unterschiede – Kritik der gesellschaftlichen Urteilskraft, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1982; and Rainer Forst: Kontexte der Gerechtigkeit − Politische Philosophie jenseits von Liberalismus und Kommunitarismus, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1994). In such a constellation of theory building, questions of hermeneutical interpretation gain in importance, and the application of the legal order advances in the foreground (compare Martin Kriele: Besonderheiten juristischer Hermeneutik, in: Text und Applikation − Theologie, Jurisprudenz und Literaturwissenschaft im hermeneutischen Gespräch (Poetik und Hermeneutik, vol. 9), ed. Manfred Fuhrmann, München: Wilhelm Fink, 1981, pp. 409 ss.; compare also Klaus Günther: Der Sinn für Angemessenheit − Anwendungsdiskurse in Moral und Recht, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1988). This ascertainment leads our attention on the third-mentioned precision of the opening observation:
Switzerland as a Melting Pot of Concurring and Crisscrossing Influences from Abroad
The identified tradition of legal thought in Switzerland from the beginning of the twentieth century has mainly been initiated and carried by jurisprudents, by lawyers and judges. This crucial point is to be proved by the selection of the discussed texts and can only be explained by indicating to certain particularities in Swiss social and academical structure.
It could be argued that legal philosophy has to be considered as an integral part of philosophy itself (in the Italian tradition Pietro Piovani: Filosofia del diritto come scienza filosofica, 1963). The very intention of legal-philosophical thought is to overcome the dogmatic character of jurisprudence by referring it to the philosophically founded system of sciences or to the encyclopaedia of philosophical sciences in Hegelian conception. In any case, philosophical thought leads to a refusal of the dogmatic character of legal theory, admitting of the problematic-critical main feature of legal philosophy in a modern understanding. The problem of this perspective is to ensure the indispensable experience of legal philosophers in legal practice. In the best case, a veritable legal philosopher should be both, experienced jurisprudent and educated philosopher; second best, he would appear as professional jurisprudent with an accentuated inclination in the domain of philosophy.
These arguments will be further developed and enriched in the course of the following presentation of the selected texts, where the evolvement of these dimensions will continuously be discussed. The main subjects, as indicated by the table of content, shall be:
I. philosophical progresses and their influences,
II. problematical methodology,
III. cultural sciences and interdisciplinarity,
IV. history and historicity of law,
V. rule of law and constitutionalism,
VI. democracy and participation,
VII. from socialism to social-democracy,
VIII. characteristics of swiss legal thought,
IX. the alternatives of realism and pragmatism, and finally
X. prospective view of tendencies, inclinations and perspectives.
To provide a starting point to our study of the selected, situated, introduced, summarised and discussed texts, these introductory observations have to be further developed in short, and by doing so, a draft of our personal perspective on jurisprudence and philosophy has equally to be sketched, and the cultural dimension of legal phenomenon, the humanistic approach to jurisprudence, Historicism and Neo-Historicism, respectively the historicity of law, and last but not least the pluralism of multiple standpoints in legal philosophy and general jurisprudence have be taken into consideration:
Natural Law vs. Law as Cultural Phenomenon
Renaissance and Humanism mark the turning point within the history of human culture from Antiquity (with its prolongment in the Middle Ages) and Modern civilisation. The core discovery is man as an actor, the human individual as a creative and inventive producing originator. It is essential to grasp this turning point right in order to found an adequate theory of law and legal philosophy, since old metaphysics have to be replaced by a philosophical reflection on legal order as man-made.
In the course of the history of ideas, we encounter a juxtaposition of nature and culture, even if mind and nature build a unity ultimately (see Gregory Bateson: Mind and Nature – A Necessary Unity, London: Wildwood House, 1979). If law is no longer to be considered as given by nature, if law is no longer part of God’s Nature, but rather has a touch of human nature, it has to be understood as cultural phenomenon, as an achievement of human civilisation, and eventually is not God-given, but rather man-made. Whereas God, the Absolute, Nature remains the very same for all times, the law, legal order is subjected to change, according to the development of human civilisation, human culture, and is characterised by historical dynamics. Therefore, law is not about how to preserve eternal values, not about metaphysical foundationalism, but rather all about resolving conflicts between different views of life and the world and different interpretations of the core value of a certain culture. The unique aim of law in Modern times consists in the peaceful resolution of conflicts, in establishing a culture, how quarrels are to be resolved, and its task is not to unify a certain set of common ideals and values. However legal philosophy and general jurisprudence have mainly opted for the contrary for a long time.
On the contrary, it is helpful to remind that law exceeds the reach of other cultural phenomenon, that means that law does not exhausts in its cultural dimension, but rather exists as “law in culture”, i.e. law within the context of culture (Roger Cotterrell: Law in culture, in: Associations, Journal for Legal and Social Theory, vol. 7/ I, Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 2003, pp. 213-225). Law, legal normativity is not to be considered as a fact, but as an artefact, namely the vivid expression of legal experience, which is linked to the historical development of the life of the human spirit.
Now, according to Giovanni Battista Vico, man can understand best his own works, whereas nature remains disclosed to man’s attempts of cognition, of knowledge, which signifies that the only or the most secure and reliable knowledge man can achieve consists in knowing spiritual experiences, intellectual conceptions or mental entities. The main problem can be addressed by the observation that whereas other cultural works in fine arts and literature present a concluded oeuvre, legal order as well as social phenomenon cannot be disclosed ever in their historical development. This difference has not been taken seriously into consideration by Neo-Kantianism that has been the leading theory in consolidating the turn to cultural philosophy (compare Ursula Renz: Die Rationalität der Kultur – Zur Kulturphilosophie und ihrer transzendentalen Begründung bei Cohen, Natorp und Cassirer, Hamburg: Felix Meiner, 2002). It makes a huge difference for interpretation of phenomenon whether the subject is concluded and disclosed, or whether it is part of a dynamic process.
Just another turning point within the philosophical explanation of legal order within the context of cultural phenomenon has been achieved by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel in his concept of “Wirklichkeit des Geistes”. Historical-philosophical reflection learns, that the universal law lies in the individual and particular legal order that tends to the universal ideal of law (i.e. the realisation of legal order means make to come true law itself). Whereas the birth of individualism goes back to the period of Renaissance, where the core of Modernity has its foundations, the essential, but underlying change from a static view of affairs to a dynamic conception of historical development has only been introduced by Hegelianism. Each era or epoch has its own law and every collective or community has its own legal order, whether it is represented cyclical (Vichianism) or in terms of linear progress (Hegelianism). Historically, genetically as well as genealogically, jurisprudence has always gone ahead the positive law or legislation, and has always had a certain priority above it, an insight that qualifies jurisprudence as the oldest social science (but not in the instrumental sense as a means to the ends of politics; see Tim Murphy: The Oldest Social Science? Configurations of Law and Modernity, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997; compare entry 7.0 of this Legal Anthology).
It is somewhat deplorable that the cultural-philosophical approach has not shown much appeal to scholars in legal philosophy. Despite the representatives of cultural philosophy in the domains of fine arts and literature, as focused by the Institution of the Aby Warburg Library, the transversal problematic that affects legal philosophy in its entity seems not to have had great appeal for legal scientists. It is to be indicated that the above-mentioned approach by cultural studies is also inherent in all Humanistic and pluralist understanding of legal phenomenon (Georg Mohr: Der Begriff der Rechtskultur als Grundbegriff einer pluralistischen Rechtsphilosophie, in: Dialektik, Enzyklopädische Zeitschrift für Philosophie und Wissenschaften, vol. 1997/ 1, Hamburg: Felix Meiner, 1997, pp. 135 ss.).
Jurisprudence as a Human Science, Legal Philosophy as Part of Philosophy
In an introduction to a projected “Grundlehre der Rechtswissenschaft” by Fritz Affolter (Die Rechtselemente, in: Archiv für Rechts- und Wirtschaftsphilosophie, vol. 10, 3 (1917), Berlin/ Leipzig: Walther Rothschild, 1917, pp. 263 s.), i.e. by a swiss lawyer in the domain of private law, who at that time has been an extraordinary professor at the University of Heidelberg), a consistent subject of legal philosophy is simply neglected: “Unter dem bekannten Namen ‘Philosophie’ sind im Laufe der Weltgeschichte inhaltlich so verschiedenartige Lehren aufgetreten, dass es zweifelhaft ist, ob sie noch etwas anderes gemeinsam haben, als nur den Namen. Dies ist eine allgemein anerkannte Tatsache. Weniger erkannt und öffentlich ausgesprochen aber ist die, dass die sogenannte Rechtsphilosophie uns dasselbe Bild in wenn möglich noch gesteigertem Masse darbietet. Vergleicht man nämlich den Inhalt der bis jetzt unter dem Namen ‘Rechtsphilosophie’ erschienenen Bücher, so wird man kaum weder im System noch im Stoffe etwas Übereinstimmendes finden. Der Unbefangene und Vorurteilslose wird nicht ohne Überraschung diese Tatsache feststellen. Mit Fug und Recht nahm er vor der Lesung an, dass auf einem im Verhältnis zur Gesamtphilosophie so eng begrenzten Gebiete wie auf dem der Rechtsphilosophie eine wenn nicht dem Systeme, so doch dem Stoffe noch grössere Gleichartigkeit und Übereinstimmung herrschen werde, als auf dem unendlichen Gebiete der Gesamtphilosophie”. As reasons, therefore, are identified, a personal inclination and perspective knowledge as well as a lack of positive material to be treated (leading to a highly independent development of the various branches of jurisprudence). In consequence, natural law is taken as a replacement subject for legal philosophy instead of realised positive law, and existing legal order, so as to provide a philosophy of positive law. The only rescue in confrontation with this constellation can be a strict division in practical and theoretical legal sciences, to which we do not agree, since every theory has to be based on experience, i.e. practice. Accordingly, mainstream legal philosophy is mainly rationalist and intellectualist, whereas we personally intend to provide an alternative in the tradition of the other stream in legal philosophy and general jurisprudence as integral parts of human studies.
With reference to the so-called ”Geisteswissenschaftliche Richtung” of German state theory (Günther Holstein and Rudolf Smend), and in close adherence to the aforementioned concept of “Kulturwissenschaft” or cultural studies, we have elaborated our own view on the philosophy of law and on the general theory of the state (Michael Walter Hebeisen: Recht und Staat als Objektivationen des Geistes in der Geschichte – Eine Grundlegung von Jurisprudenz und Staatslehre als Geisteswissenschaften, Biel/Bienne: Schweizerischer Wissenschafts- und Universitätsverlag, 2004). In the domain of public law, Peter Häberle has intended to fecundate the cultural issues of such a foundation of jurisprudential self-reflection (Verfassungsrecht als Kulturwissenschaft, in: Schriften zum öffentlichen Recht, vol. 436, Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 2nd ed. 1998; idem: Europäische Rechtskultur – Versuch einer Annäherung in zwölf Schritten, Baden-Baden: Nomos, 1994). By our shift in attention and inclination to the human studies, we have declared our preference for a humanistic foundation of legal culture instead to a naturalistic one (the alternative being formulated by Erich Cassirer: Naturalistische und humanistische Begründung der Kulturphilosophie, in: Erkenntnis, Begriff, Kultur, 1993, first printing 1939).
Human nature is essentially mental and spiritual and, therefore, we argue decisively for a humanistic foundation of jurisprudence as an integral part of human and social sciences, as preferred also by the pragmatist movement, especially by William James and Ferdinand Scanning Scott Schiller, for instance. The crucial point is to overcome the dogmatic structure of jurisprudence, and to adopt a truly philosophical view without pretending any pre-conditions or axiomatic foundation of legal philosophy (compare Eduard Spranger: “Voraussetzungslosigkeit der Geisteswissenschaften”, 1929; Erich Rothacker: “Die dogmatische Denkform in den Geisteswissenschaften und das Problem des Historismus”, 1954; or Carl August Emge: Philosophie der Rechtswissenschaft, 1961, pp. 18 ss.). Such a perspective on jurisprudence as a human science, however, is only rarely confirmed, maybe with the exception of Theodor Viehweg (Zur Geisteswissenschaftlichkeit der Rechtsdisziplin, in: Rechtsphilosophie und Rhetorische Rechtstheorie – Gesammelte kleine Schriften, ed. Heino Garrn, in: Studien zur Rechtsphilosophie und Rechtstheorie, vol. 9, Baden-Baden: Nomos, 1995, pp. 23 ss.; compare idem: Rechtsphilosophie als Grundlagenforschung, l. c., pp. 45 ss.).
The eminent social dimension of law and jurisprudence derives from the fact, that a third enters the relation of two subjects, a collective will of the community is added to the will built on the basis of the subject and his otherness. The indispensable historical dimension of the law requires a kind of legal history, where the historical development of jurisprudence itself is included and, therefore, leads to a comprehensive philosophy of legal science in the context of a system of philosophically informed and founded scientific disciplines. Moreover, in order to interconnect the various branches of jurisprudence, a veritable interdisciplinary approach within jurisprudence is demanded.
History of Law, History of Jurisprudence, and History of Legal Philosophy
Any reflective thought about what makes jurisprudence scientific is equivalent to a specific philosophy of law in the sense of a philosophical theory of jurisprudence, and not merely as a methodological inspired theory (philosophy is necessarily systematic, i.e. establishes a specific relation with respect to the whole). In other words, legal thought becomes automatically legal philosophy, as soon as it reflects its presuppositions as a philosophical science and the preconditions of its domain or outreach. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel has identified the history of philosophy equally with philosophy itself, and this insight signifies that the history of legal philosophy equals legal philosophy itself. To the least extent, any theory of legal science ultimately is equivalent to a history of legal philosophy, or in short equal to philosophy, therefore (compare Maximilian Herberger: Zum Methodenproblem der Methodengeschichte – Einige Grundsatz-Reflexionen, in: Entwicklung der Methodenlehre in Rechtswissenschaft und Philosophie vom 16. bis zum 18. Jahrhundert, in: Contubernium, vol. 46, Stuttgart: Franz Steiner, 1998, pp. 207 ss.).
As a primary demand for jurisprudence, system-building or coherent conceptualisation of legal notions becomes indispensable, and that means legal science turns out to be necessarily philosophical because it is inevitably systematic. This requirement also counts for the so-called Historical School of law, as it has been proposed for instance by Friedrich Carl von Savigny or by Rudolf von Ihering (see Walter Wilhelm: Savignys überpositive Systematik; and Helmut Coing: Der juristische Systembegriff bei Rudolf von Ihering, both in: Philosophie und Rechtswissenschaft – Zum Problem ihrer Beziehungen im 19. Jahrhundert, in: Studien zur Philosophie und Literatur des 19. Jahrhunderts, vol. 3, Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann, 1969, pp. 123 ss. and pp. 149 ss.). Paradoxically, also and even historical theories of legal order fit better to legal philosophy than they are commonly held to be able to explain. Eventually, they arrive to overcome the frequent reduction to the methodological aspects of legal techniques.
Philosophies of Law – Pluralistic and Personal
If philosophy means always expressing a will to system-building, any legal philosophy consists in a coherent master narrative, told in a certain perspective and prospective, founded in a personal understanding of selected contributions, and grounded upon an individual experience of think-acts. Merely encyclopaedical approaches, that represent the ingredients without assembling them to a comprising, comprehensive, and holistic whole, are to be refused therefore. According to Pietro Piovani there are multiple possibilities of legal experience, and jurisprudence based on experience, i.e. truly scientific legal science, turns out to be pluralistic and personal.
Consequently, there is an ultimate need to declare the authors own views, to defend his personal decisions. This task does not follow methodological reflections, but rather only the pragmatic proof of being able to solve problems in an adequate way, as we have extensively argued in our habilitation thesis (“Recht und Staat als Objektivationen des Geistes in der Geschichte – Eine Grundlegung von Jurisprudenz und Staatslehre als Geisteswissenschaften”, Biel/ Bienne: Schweizerischer Wissenschafts- und Universitätsverlag, 2004). In addition, to take pluralism seriously requires founding a theory of multiple and overlapping legal orders, as provided by the so-called theory of institutions, as inaugurated by Jean-Claude-Eugène-Maurice Hauriou and Santi Romano (compare Michael Walter Hebeisen: Pragmatismus, Pluralismus, Pragmatismus – Essayistische Abhandlungen zur den wissenschaftsphilosophischen Grundlagen für eine integrale Jurisprudenz”, 2005 pp. 1 ss.; see entry 9.12 of this Legal Anthology). Such thought alongside legal order must not be confused with political order though in Carl Schmitt, beware.
Let us in conclusion of this general introduction briefly reconsider the framework of our attempt, or better speaking delineate the main determinants of our approach. This can be done by succeedingly addressing Historical School of Law, Natural Law tradition, Positivism, Kantianism as well as the ongoing emancipation of legal philosophy and general jurisprudence in the way of hermeneutics:
Pre-Dominance of German Historical School of Law
During the whole nineteenth century, the Historical School of Law has been pre-dominating in German-speaking countries, and it especially decided the quarrel about the codification of private law in the negative sense. Even critics as the prominent Rudolf von Ihering remain in the spirit of “Historische Rechtsschule”, led by the eminent Friedrich Carl von Savigny, despite their battle on the law (more important than Anton Friedrich Justus Thibaut seems to me Ihering’s “Wiener Antrittsrede” about “Wissenschaftlichkeit der Jurisprudenz” than the well-known “Battle on the Law” by the same author; see entry 2.0 of this Legal Anthology). The highly problematical issues of the classic historical law school, however, have meanwhile been identified by Klaus Luig (Rudolf von Ihering und die Historische Rechtsschule, in: Iherings Rechtsdenken – Theorie und Pragmatik im Dienste evolutionärer Rechtsethik, ed. Okko Behrends, in: Abhandlungen der Akademie der Wissenschaften in Göttingen, vol. 216, Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1996, pp. 255 ss.). Philosophically reconsidered, even the Historical School of Jurisprudence has remained merely dogmatic and, therefore, not truly historical in the sense of Neo-Historicism (as proposed and postulated by Johann Gustav Droysen, Wilhelm Dilthey, Friedrich Meinecke, and Ernst Troeltsch), that only enables veritable criticism (leading to truly philosophical understanding, namely to “Geschichtlichkeit” in the sense of the historicity of human existence).
Within the conceptions of the Historical School of Law, history actually refers to permanent nature, not to alterable culture, as it has been outlined by Alfred Dufour (Histoire naturelle ou nature historique du droit dans l’École du Droit Historique, in: Recht zwischen Natur und Geschichte, (Ius Commune, vol. 100), Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann, 1997, pp. 125 ss.). The decision, what kind of history or historicity has to be adopted to provide a sound basis for modern legal thought has therefore to be answered just in the other sense. Only, in the course of its reception in American legal thought, the false direction of German Historical School of law has been widespread, mutandis mutatur, for instance by the documented influence of Rudolf von Ihering on a whole generation of American legal thinkers, i.e. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Roscoe Pound, Karl N. Lewellyn, and Lon L. Fuller (see Robert S. Summers: Rudolf von Ihering’s influence on American legal theory – A selective account, in: Iherings Rechtsdenken – Theorie und Pragmatik im Dienste evolutionärer Rechtsethik, ed. Okko Behrends, in: Abhandlungen der Akademie der Wissenschaften in Göttingen, vol. 216, Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1996, pp. 61 ss.) as well as on the Australian legal thinker Julius Stone (The Province and Function of Law – Law as Logic, Justice, and Social Control (A Study in Jurisprudence), Sydney: Associated General Publications, 1946, reprint Buffalo: William S. Hein & Co.; and idem: Legal System and Lawyer’s Reasoning, Sydney: Maitland Publications, 1968). However, the penetrating inclination to realism and/or pragmatism that is evident in this transplantation of general ideas has hindered to exceed with the deficiencies of the Continental European tradition of Historicism. By this adapting reception, the so-called orientations of “Analytical Jurisprudence”, “American Legal Realism” and “Critical Legal Studies” have been able to avoid the trap of natural history or the naturalistic misunderstanding of historicity (compare Edgar Bodenheimer: Jurisprudence − The Philosophy and Method of Law, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1962, Seiten 120f.). These currents are rather systematically interconnected with “Scandinavian Legal Realism” and have had a major implication back on European legal thought. When judging such processes of reception of whole theories, it has to be taken into consideration, however, that to find similarities corresponds very much to the associative abilities of human mind, whereas fundamental differences can always be identified to an overwhelming extent, so that in conclusion the different surpasses the similar by far.
Natural Law Theory Revisited – A Relict to Overcome
Philosophically speaking, natural law theory refers always to the Nature, to the Absolute, to God as an everlasting, inalterable entity and, therefore, has to be characterised in an old-fashioned way as metaphysical. Jean Barbeyrac, one of the Swiss precursors of natural law theory, has added history to the ideal of natural law in 1711 – in his inaugural lecture entitled “De dignitate et utilitate Juris ac Historiarum et utriusque disciplinae Amica coniunctione” – in order to mobilise the dynamic potential of the idea of international law and legal order in general. Contrary, in Catholic milieus, we can find even natural law theory in pure culture, for instance in Ignaz Franz Paul Troxler‘s “Philosophische Rechtslehre der Natur und des Gesetzes mit Rücksicht auf die Irrlehren der Liberalität und Legitimität” from 1820. Maybe the best-known representative of late natural law theory is Johann Caspar Bluntschli, who aims to gain political influence by founding his claims for the organisation of public law on natural law. This attempt addresses the problem to co-ordinate ethics or moral philosophy, on the one hand, and law or jurisprudence, on the other hand (see Helmut Coing: Das Verhältnis der positiven Rechtswissenschaft zur Ethik im 19. Jahrhundert, in: Recht und Ethik – Zum Problem ihrer Beziehung im 19. Jahrhundert, in: Studien zur Philosophie und Literatur des 19. Jahrhunderts, vol. 9, Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann, 1970, pp. 11 ss.; compare also Fritz Eichengrün: Die Rechtsphilosophie Gustav Hugos – Ein geistesgeschichtlicher Beitrag zum Problem von Naturrecht und Rechtspositivismus, Den Haag: Martinus Nijhoff, 1935). The pretention to consider natural law as evolving, mutable and capable to adaption to new circumstances only signifies an abolishment of metaphysical foundationalism for practical reason, for individual and collective practice. Ultimately, there is no direct, non-intermediate perception of abstract ideas in Modern times, but the only remaining possibility consists in a related, mediated conceptual cognition of concrete individuals and individualities. Natural law theories have thus lost any legitimate application. In a last attempt to reconcile natural law and modern legal and social philosophy, Wilhelm Dilthey held that the problem proposed by the natural law theory can only be solved in the context of the positive human sciences, which is an abolition of the classical question natural law theory has ever dealt with: “Das Problem, welches sich das Naturrecht stellte, ist nur lösbar im Zusammenhang der positiven Wissenschaften des Rechts. [...] Hieraus folgt, dass es eine besondere Philosophie des Rechts nicht gibt, dass vielmehr ihre Aufgabe dem philosophisch begründeten Zusammenhang der positiven Wissenschaften des Geistes wird anheimfallen müssen” (Einleitung in die Geisteswissenschaften − Versuch einer Grundlegung für das Studium der Gesellschaft und der Geschichte, in: Gesammelte Schriften, vol. 1, Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 9th ed. 1990, p. 79; excellent introductions into the thought of Dilthey provide Rudolf A. Makkreel: Dilthey – Philosopher of the Human Studies, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1975, in German translation: Dilthey, Philosoph der Geisteswissenschaften, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1991; as well as Ilse N. Bulhof: Dilthey – A Hermeneutic Approach to the Study of History and Culture (in: Philosophical Library, vol. 2), The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1980).
Nevertheless, even in the mid-twentieth century, Helmut Coing has argued for and against changing natural law (Naturrecht als wissenschaftliches Problem, in: Sitzungsberichte der wissenschaftlichen Gesellschaft an der Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main, vol. 3 (1964), Nr. 1, Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner, 1965); and, even worse, after the Second World War, there has been a revival of natural law theory, just with the intention to preserve the positive legal order from being perverted by positivistic legal thought.
Concurring Positivisms and Elaboration of More Sophisticated Neo-Positivisms
Legal positivism is a tricky and misleading issue, as it has virtually nothing to do with positivism in a scientific-philosophical sense. In the domain of legal thought, there are simply no such data and facts that could render possible any positivistic construction, and even positivism in social theory remains highly problematic due to the specific character of the artefacts of human coexistence within society. In the domain of jurisprudence, positivism is generally founded on public law theories, namely originally in Germany in the form of constitutional positivism, as elaborated by Carl Friedrich von Gerber and Paul Laband (see Manfred Friedrich: Geschichte der deutschen Staatsrechtswissenschaft, in: Schriften zur Verfassungsgeschichte, vol. 50, Berlin: Duncker und Humblot 1997, pp. 222 ss. and 256 ss.), or in the domain of administrative law by Otto Mayer (with essential corrections foremost by Fritz Fleiner). Already by the next generation of legal thinkers, i.e. for instance in Gerhard Anschütz and Richard Thoma, the strong concept of positivism has been considerably moderated. The dogmatic of early positivism in late “Kaiserreich” and “Weimar Republic” have been critically valuated by Otto von Gierke (Die Grundbegriffe des Staatsrechts und die neusten Staatsrechtstheorien, Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr, 1915, first in: Zeitschrift für die gesamte Staatswissenschaft, vol. 1874/ 1-2, reprint Aalen: Scientia, 1973; compare idem: Labands Staatsrecht und die deutsche Rechtswissenschaft, Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 2nd ed. 1961, first in: Jahrbuch für Gesetzgebung, Verwaltung und Volkswirtschaft im Deutschen Reich, N. S. vol. 7/ 1883, 4). Similarly, in France the positivistic theory building by Léon Dugit has been criticised by Jean-Claude-Eugène-Maurice Hauriou.
Neo-Positivism has potentially changed this situation, and legal positivism has undergone an eminent reformation by the “Pure Theory of Law” (1934) by Hans Kelsen, preceded by the preparatory work “Hauptprobleme der Staatsrechtslehre” (1911). As a result, this doctrine has been intensely discussed and widely adopted, even if this is not always transparently declared by the adepts. This theory of law seems to be well founded, even if it designates an often-criticised position, often without profound understanding, until recently. It may be even better known in Anglo-American legal thought than in European, especially in German-speaking, theory building. Nevertheless, the antithesis of Natural Law theory and positivism affects also this kind or modality of positivistic approach to law and legal order, despite its ideological-critical inclination and its option for the rule of law. For it remains basically founded on the critical epistemological philosophy of Kantianism that confuses the primacy of practical reason with the metaphysical foundation of pure reason.
True Kantianism – The Subject Taking Part in Cognition and Perception, and: True Hegelianism: Dynamic conception of Change and Development
There is a philosophy of law in Immanuel Kant’s thought, but the essential part is not explicitly declared in the writing on “Metaphysische Anfangsgründe der Rechtslehre”, but rather sketched in some political-philosophical writings and in the essay “On Eternal Peace” (on the occasion of the centenary of the first publication of this essay, a great number of contributions have been published; compare the contributions in: Immanuel Kant – Zum ewigen Frieden, in: Klassiker auslegen, vol. 1, ed. Otfried Höffe, Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 1995; Frieden durch Recht – Kants Friedensidee und das Problem einer neuen Weltordnung, in: Suhrkamp Taschenbuch Wissenschaft, vol. 1269, ed. Matthias Lutz-Bachmann and James Bohmann, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1996; 200 Jahre Kants Entwurf “Zum Ewigen Frieden” – Idee einer globalen Friedensordnung, ed. Volker Bialas and Hans-Jürgen Hässler, Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann, 1996; as well as Volker Gerhardt: Immanuel Kants Entwurf “Zum ewigen Frieden” – Eine Theorie der Politik. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1995; among others). According to the Kantian critical epistemology, all science and knowledge has to be conceptualised based on legal experience.
In Kantian philosophy, we also discover an entire theory of judgment as a paradigmatic nucleus for jurisprudence and legal philosophy, moreover. For the very first time, it is ascertained that in jurisprudence, legal science takes an active, creative and productive part in the recognition of law, not only by interpretation and jurisdiction, but also in the course of legislation (to realise the law is equal to positivise, to codify the law). Kant’s legal philosophy is actually included in his “Critique of judgment” (see Wolfgang Wieland: Kants Rechtsphilosophie der Urteilskraft, in: Zeitschrift für philosophische Forschung vol. 52/ 1 (1998), Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann, pp. 1 ss.). In this respect, Neo-Kantian legal thought must be questioned, and it also has been criticised by Erich Kaufmann (Eine Kritik der neukantischen Rechtsphilosophie – Eine Betrachtung über die Beziehungen zwischen Philosophie und Rechtswissenschaft, 1921).
Just another prospective that is generally omitted, consist in the concurring lecture of Kantianism, as already provided by Jakob Friedrich Fries (Philosophische Rechtslehre und Kritik aller positiven Gesetzgebung, 1803) and later and even more radically by Leonard Nelson (Die Rechtswissenschaft ohne Recht, 1916; idem: System der philosophischen Rechtslehre und Politik, vol. 3 of: Vorlesungen über die Grundlagen der Ethik, 1924). We mention these attempts because they have shown some effect on Walther Burkhardt, and great influence on Arnold Gysin, two important legal thinkers in Switzerland.
With Hegelian and Neo-Hegelian legal thought, there occurs a paradigmatic change from a static perception of objective matters to a dynamic understanding of objectivised phenomenon that turns out to be rich of consequences. In this spirit, Max Weber, for instance, invites us to view the state and the law as improvised and transitory objectivations that stand within the flow of historical change, may this be progress or development or simply vicissitude (Herausgebererklärung zum “Archiv für Sozialwissenschaft und Sozialpolitik”, 1904; compare idem: “Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft − Grundriss der verstehenden Soziologie”, ed. Johannes Winckelmann, Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr, 5th ed. 1972). This radical change of view means a challenge that has not yet been accomplished by today’s general jurisprudence and legal philosophy so long.
Consequently, ontology and metaphysics (with their reference to being, objective reality) are to be replaced by process and structure with social phenomenon as their subjects, and with scientific conceptualisation as their problematic task. Neo-Kantian inclination with its foundation of cultural sciences has produced a strong influence of hermeneutics on jurisprudence; however, it is to be reminded, that in one case the art-work serves as model for interpretation, enabling to understand disclosed artefacts, whereas in the other case, we encounter an undisclosed, open texture, and an endless changing character of the achievements of human spirit, of the outputs of spiritual life in a Hegelian sense. This may be the hidden cause for its revival with the so-called discourse of application in the School of Jürgen Habermas. In any case, the faculty of esthetical judgment instead of hermeneutical interpretation and understanding occurs in prospective:
Emancipation of Jurisprudence – Historical Conditions and Self-Consciousness
Only in the moment when legal science, jurisprudence takes an active part in the codification of legal order, in the legislation it comes accordingly to an emancipation of legal philosophy and general jurisprudence. The change in the function and task of legal science leads to the insight that jurisprudence itself must be an integral part of the system of the sources of law (achieved by Eugen Huber: “Bewährte Lehre”, 1910; see entry 1.4 of this Legal Anthology). Embedded in the evolving reception in the history of ideas (especially of Neo-Kantian legal thought represented by Rudolf Stammler), the high tide of legal philosophy in Switzerland broaches in the beginning of the twentieth century and raises right from an imaginary starting point with the pinnacle of “Recht und Rechtsverwirklichung”, published in 1920 by Eugen Huber. Hereby, not only the interdiction to interpret the positive law is overcome, but also a permission and an invitation expressed to go far beyond, and to create the concrete systematics of legal order in the way of application (compare Ernst Forsthoff: Recht und Sprache – Prolegomena zu einer richterlichen Hermeneutik, in: Schriften der Königsberger gelehrten Gesellschaft, vol. 17/ 1, Halle an der Saale: Max Niemeyer, 1940; idem: Zur Problematik der Verfassungsauslegung, in: res publica, Beiträge zum öffentlichen Recht, vol. 7, Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1961).
A prominent scholar of this interpretational approach to law is Josef Esser (Vorverständnis und Methodenwahl in der Rechtsfindung – Rationalitätsgrundlagen richterlicher Entscheidpraxis, Frankfurt am Main: Athenäum Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, 1972; grundbreakingly compare idem: Grundsatz und Norm in der richterlichen Fortbildung des Privatrechts – Rechtsvergleichende Beiträge zur Rechtsquellen- und Interpretationslehre, Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr, 4. ed. 1990; see in short idem: Einführung in die Grundbegriffe des Rechtes und Staates – Eine Einführung in die Rechtswissenschaft und in die Rechtsphilosophie (Rechts- und Staatswissenschaften, vol. 5), Wien: Springer, 1949; in extenso the collected essays by idem: Wege der Rechtsgewinnung – Ausgewählte Aufsätze, ed. Peter Häberle und Hans G. Leser, Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr, 1990; and idem: Das Bewusstwerden wissenschaftlichen Arbeitens, in: Roland Dubischar, Grundbegriffe des Rechts – Eine Einführung in die Rechtstheorie, Stuttgart 1968). A similar hermeneutical approach to questions of understanding, interpreting and application of the law has been proposed by Emilio Betti (Zur Grundlegung einer allgemeinen Auslegungslehre, Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr, 1988, first printing in: Festschrift für Ernst Rabel, ed. Wolfgang Kunkel and Hans Julius Wolf, vol. 2, pp. 79-168). The essential contribution with respect to legal-philosophical thought, however, is to be considered the enlargement of hermeneutics to philosophy in extenso, as elaborated by Hans-Georg Gadamer: Wahrheit und Methode – Grundzüge einer philosophischen Hermeneutik, 2 vols., Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr, 1990, 1st ed. 1960). With this enhancement, jurisprudence decisively becomes a human (and social) science, based on the foundations of philosophical hermeneutics.
The aspects of the cultural dimension of legal phenomenon, the humanistic approach to jurisprudence, Historicism and Neo-Historicism, respectively the historicity of law, the achievements of Kantianism and Neo-Kantianism with their dynamic dialectics, as contributed by Hegelianism, and last but not least the pluralism of multiple standpoints in legal philosophy and general jurisprudence – with its necessity for hermeneutics in order to conciliate different interpretations of the same legal text – all stand in a coherent and consistent connection between each other.
For Further Reading
Jean Barbeyrac: De dignitate et utilitate Juris ac Historiarum et utriusque disciplinae Amica coniunctione, Amsterdam: Pierre de Coup, erweiterte und verbesserte ed. 1712 (1st ed. Lausanne: Frédéric Gentil und Théophile Crosat, 1711);
Johann Caspar Bluntschli: Allgemeines Staatsrecht, geschichtlich begründet, 2 vol., München: J. G. Cotta, 4th ed. 1868 (1st ed. München: Verlag der literarisch-artistischen Anstalt, 1852);
Alfred Dufour: Genève et la science juridique européenne du début du XIXème siècle – La fonction médiatrice des Annales de Législation (1820-1823), in: Wechselseitige Beeinflussungen und Rezeptionen von Recht und Philosophie in Deutschland und Frankreich, 3. deutsch-französisches Kolloquium vom 16. bis 18. September 1999 in La Bussière/ Dijon, ed. Jean-François Kervégan and Heinz Mohnhaupt (Ius Commune, supplementary vol. 144), Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann, 2001, pp. 287ss.;
Fritz Fleiner: Institutionen des deutschen Verwaltungsrechts, Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr, 8. 1928;
Michael Walter Hebeisen: Schweizer Juristen-Philosophen – Eine eigenständige schweizerische Tradition der Wissenschaftsphilosophie der Jurisprudenz und der Staatslehre in Auseinandersetzungen mit ausgewählten Strömungen der Rechts- und der Staatsphilosophie sowie der Wissenschaftstheorie in der ersten Hälfte des Zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts (Eine programmatische Skizze für ein interdisziplinäres Forschungsvorhaben), in: Jahrbuch des öffentlichen Rechts der Gegenwart, N. S. vol. 50, ed. Peter Häberle, Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr/Siebeck, pp. 69ss.;
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel: Grundlinien der Philosophie des Rechts (1820) (Philosophische Bibliothek, vol. 483), Hamburg: Felix Meiner, 1995; Idem: Vorlesungen zur Geschichte der Philosophie (Vollständige Ausgabe der Werke, vol. 13), ed. Carl Ludwig Michelet, Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 1840;
Pietro Piovani: La filosofia del diritto come scienza filosofica, Milano: A. Giuffrè, 1963 (in german translation: Die Rechtsphilosophie als philosophische Disziplin, s. www.swuv.bodautor.de/Editionen/Pietro-Piovani-Edition/); Idem: La filosofia del diritto nella pluralità delle esperienze giuridiche, in: Rassegna italiana di sociologia, Jg. 1962, H. 1 (in french translation, in: Qu’est-ce que la philosophie du droit – Archives de philosophie du droit, vol. 1962; in German translation: Die Rechtsphilosophie im Rahmen der Pluralität der Rechtserfahrungen, s. l. c.);
Alphonse Rivier: Principes du droit des gens, Paris: Rousseau, 1889 (in deutscher Übersetzung: Lehrbuch des Völkerrechts, Hannover: Ferdinand Enke, 2nd ed. 1899);
Charles Secrétan: La philosophie de la liberté – Cours de philosophie morale, 2 vol., Paris/ Lausanne: L. Hachette et Cie/ Georges Bridel, 1849;
Bertrando Spaventa: Della nazionalità nella filosofia, Prolusione, in: La filosofia italiana nelle sue relazioni con la filosofia europea (1862), in: Opere (Classici della filosofia Bd. XII), ed. Giovanni Gentile, Firenze: Sansoni, 1972, vol. 2, pp. 407ss.;
Anna Tumarkin: Wesen und Werden der schweizerischen Philosophie, Frauenfeld: Huber & Co., 1948;
Giovanni Battista Vico: Scienza Nuova (1. ed. 1725; 3. ed. 1744), in: Opere, vols. 3 and 4, ed. Fausto Nicolini, Bari: Laterza, 1931/ 1911/ 1916 (German translation: Prinzipien einer neuen Wissenschaft über die gemeinsame Natur der Völker, ed. Vittorio Hösle and Christoph Jermann, Hamburg: Felix Meiner, 1990).