Grundriss einer selbstverständlichen juristischen Metho­de und Rechtsphilosophie

Aloïs Troller

Aloïs Troller, Grundriss einer selbstverständlichen juristischen Metho­de und Rechtsphilosophie (Das Recht in Theorie und Praxis), Basel/ Stutt­gart: Helbing & Lichtenhahn, 1975.

Introduction/Historical Situation and Systematic Context

Aloïs Troller’s primary earnings are to be 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 layed 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 has 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, it is to refered 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

If the method of jurisprudence be self-understanding, there would not be any necessity to discuss the relation between theory and practice. In his last legal philosophical publication, Aloïs Troller undertakes to reassure himself and the reader that theory be a true reflection of practice and not to dominate legal practice with its dogmatic doctrines. This wish exactly defines the task for legal philosophy, according to the author’s personal view. He tends towards relativism, insofar as he takes seriously the individual, subjective approach he had put forward in his previous writings.

As an extract, we have selected for reading a passage, where the old-fashioned question of the relation between being (“Sein”) and ought (“Sollen”) is discussed. As a kind of remedy, Aloïs Troller invents a dialectical variant to existentialism, where the existing (“Sein”) is changed for the being (“Dasein”), and where the normative, imperative consists in the desicion of the desirable state of being (“Sein-Sollen”, respectively “Dasein-Sollen”). “Die These, dass aus dem was ist, nicht gefolgert werden kann, was sein soll, sieht am menschlichen Sein und Dasein vorbei. Sie erklärt sich aus einer Spaltung des Erkenntnisbereits in einen materiellen und einen moralischen Teil. Der Mensch und damit sein Dasein und sein Sein ist unteilbar Materie, Seele und Geist. Und alle Erkenntnis bedarf der Grundlage in der Materie, so wie ein Geisteswerk (Erfindung, Wer der Literatur, Musik oder Kunst) nur im körperlichen Träger sich erfahren lässt. Es gibt kein moralisches Sein des Menschen, das von der Materie gelöst sich entwickeln würde. Die Erfahrung beweist das Gegenteil”. Eventually, we have found back to experience, to legal, ethical, moral and consuetudinary experience. This approach not only throws a new light upon the everlasting problem of justice, but also opens unseen possibilities to deal with the goods of nature and environment within legal order.

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 for intellectual property between 1957 and 1976 as well as for 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 Grundriss.