Überall gültige Prinzipien der Rechts­wissenschaft

Aloïs Troller

Aloïs Troller, Überall gültige Prinzipien der Rechts­wissenschaft, Frankfurt am Main/ Berlin: Alfred Metzner, 1965.

Introduction

Aloïs Troller’s primary earnings are to be found in the domain of intellectual property rights. However, he had a strong and lifelong inclination toward 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 their 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.

Historical Situation and Systematic Context

These “Principles of Jurisprudence” by Aloïs Troller are explicitly based on phenomenological philosophy. If one takes into consideration the index of literature, the reference of this legal philosophical contribution goes mainly to philosophical thinkers in the proper sense. This masterful writing in the domain of legal philosophy therefore unveils as a true piece of philosophical thought, as part of the discipline of philosophy as rigorous scientific research in the understanding of Edmund Husserl (consult “Philosophie als strenge Wissenschaft”, Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann, 1965; first printing in: Logos, vol. 1 (1910), Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr, 1911). Thus, phenomenological philosophy is to be considered as a transcendental foundation of scientific thought, i.e. as transcendental phenomenology; moreover, it consists in a philosophy of thought, of the spirit in a Hegelian sense, it is rigorous science of the human spiritual life in an absolute understanding. This transcendental function in contrast to everyday phenomenon is assured by the so-called epoché, by epochal reduction of naturalist impressions (of mere data or facts) to spiritual or mental expressions (to concepts and acts of thought). The key concept of such an approach becomes the phenomenological research about the essence or being of human things and thoughts. It is to be mentioned, in addition, that this conception of philosophy also goes back to so-called life philosophy, as it has been inaugurated by Wilhelm Dilthey, and as it has been theorised by idealist Historicism, in the same degree as existentialism in Martin Heidegger refers to the very same roots in the history of philosophical thought.

The problem in the course of historical development of phenomenological philosophy with respect to jurisprudence consists in the fact that Gerhart Husserl, the son of Edmund, has somehow consumed this approach for jurisprudence, as he was a professional jurisprudent at the University of Kiel, before he had to emigrate to the United States of America after 1936 (compare Recht und Welt – Rechtsphilosophische Abhandlungen, Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann, 1964; Idem: Recht und Zeit – Fünf rechtsphilosophische Essays, Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann, 1955; and Idem: Recht und Welt, in: Festschrift Edmund Husserl, Halle an der Saale: Max Niemeyer, 1929; also to be consulted are the contributions to: Festschrift für Gerhart Husserl zum 75 Geburtstag, ed. Thomas Würtenberger, Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann, 1969). Not to be forgotten is the contribution of the phenomenological approach for the so-called comprehensive sociology of Max Weber in particular (see Robert Williame: Les Fondements Phénomenologiques de la Sociologie Compréhensive – Alfred Schütz et Max Weber (Phaenomenologica, vol. 58), Den Haag: Martinus Njihoff, 1973). Phenomenological theory-building definitely had more success in France, than in Germany, as the leading scholars of phenomenological philosophy have all been French-speaking legal thinkers, such as Paul Amselek and Bernhard Waldenfels, or Alexandre Kojève for instance (for a comprehensive overview see Simone Goyard-Fabre: Essai de critique phénoménologique du droit, Paris: Librairie Klincksieck, 1972). Aloïs Troller, however, successfully overcame the penetrating ontological inclination of his earlier legal thought, as he understands phenomenological philosophy as a means to establish a true cognition of legal valuations and not only to establish an ontological order between a given set of legal values.

Content, Abstracts/Conclusions, Insights, Evidence

Aloïs Troller’s intention is not to provide an overall legal philosophy, including a discussion of the leading philosophical systems in legal thought, rather he wants to reassure himself, that practice and theory in the domain of legal thought and jurisprudence can coexist with each other and both serve the purpose of peaceful human community in friendly neighbourhood, as he writes in the foreword.

In his introduction, Aloïs Troller takes medicine as a significant model for jurisprudence, as both of the disciplines count to the so-called great faculties (together with theology). The objects causing quarrels between the different currents of jurisprudence are identified as marginal. “Die Rechtswissenschaft hat schon Bedeutendes geleistet, wenn sie jene Stellen anzeigt, wo die metaphysische Anschauung (religiöse Überzeugung oder Ideologie) das letzte Wort hat. Das gelingt ihr dadurch, dass sie das riesige Gebiet vorweist, das der objektiven Erkenntnis offen steht und dass sie bis zu dessen Grenzen hinführt”. Scientific thought, eventually, means to applicate cognition to define the borderlines of assured knowledge (a true Kantian principle, in fact). With his study, Troller intends to enlighten the turbid consciousness and to establish a sound self-consciousness of legal theory. “Dieses Unterfangen ist deshalb so spannend, weil es einerseits nur von den allgemein wahrnehmbaren Erscheinungen der geistigen und körperlichen Welt ausgeht, und weil andererseits eine metaphysische Überzeugung dazu den Anlass gab, deren Richtigkeit noch nicht beweisbar, das heisst nicht zu einer Evidenz zu bringen ist, die alle erkennen können”. The intention of the argumentation as a whole consists in providing a set of generally valid principles for legal thought, or as the title of the study suggests “principles that can be applicated everywhere”. The Method to follow by doing so is based upon phenomenological philosophy.

Often, the scientific character of jurisprudence is exclusively guaranteed by method. However, essential for scientific practice is knowledge, and with respect to philosophical science not only logical truth, but true cognition of reality. The dogmatical structure of jurisprudence is therefore to be enlarged to a veritable theory of legal knowledge, the authority of positive law to be founded in a transcendental philosophical way in order to ascertain true and valid knowledge of the law. “Wissenschaftliches Tun ist eigenes vernunftsgemässes Erkennen und nicht autoritätsgläubiges Hinnehmen und Auswendiglernen von Thesen. [...] Die Wissenschaft handelt vom vernunftmässigen und daher überprüfbaren Erkennen ihrer Gegenstände in einer Weise, die allgemeine Richtlinien für das Vorgehen und seine Ergebnisse angesichts gleichartiger Erscheinungen zu geben vermag. Durch dieses Hinaufsteigen ins Allgemeingültige unterscheidet sie sich von der Praxis, die jeweilen nur den einzelnen Fall zu bewältigen hat”. This attempt transcends pure logic by far and cannot be persecuted in terms of mere methodology. It rather demands for a process to generate actively true knowledge and for a systematic order of the contributions of the specific scientific disciplines (“System der Wissenschaften”). “Zur Rechtswissenschaft gehört auch die Rechtsphilosophie, sofern diese zur Lösung der Aufgaben unmittelbar herangezogen und nicht nur als spekulativer Erholungsort vor der täglichen Fron oder als hohe Lehre, an der die gewöhnliche Jurisprudenz sich bloss ehrfurchtsvoll erbauen kann, behandelt wird”.

Phenomenological cognition is adopted by Aloïs Troller as a methodological grounds for jurisprudence. First, the so-called problem of legal cognition (“Erkenntnisproblem”) is to be solved. The phenomenological reduction, as elaborated by Edmund Husserl, can provide a valid foundation for legal knowledge, and help to transcend ordinary methodology and to overcome merely logical conclusions. This method follows the Kantian Criticism, enlarging it considerably with respect to scientific knowledge: “Es besteht, besonders in der Nachfolge Immanuel Kants, die Gefahr, dass der Mensch, der vertrauensvoll der gepriesenen Vernunft folgt, den Weg nicht bis zum Schluss mitgeht und somit die Ratio verliert und den Glauben nicht findet. [...] Wichtig ist die Erkenntnis, dass diese Denkmethoden zwar, wie es sich ergeben wird, auf den richtigen Weg hinleiten, aber ins Metaphysische hinüberwechseln, bevor dieser Weg erreicht ist”. The postulated method follows the Cartesian principle of the thinking subject of cognition and accentuates its active, yet creative role within the generation of knowledge. The self-conscious subject, however, is located in a context of equals, of equally self-confident subjects with their interpretations of the legal world. In order to overcome dogmatical knowledge, a key function is the so-called transcendental reduction, as it takes the consciousness as a starting point to construct valid knowledge. Therefore, the focus is entirely set on legal consciousness and has to be enlarged to a kind of legal ideation (“Wesensschau des Rechtlichen”), which stands for a pure concept: “Das Wesen (eidos) ist ein neuartiger Gegenstand. So wie das Gegebene der individuellen oder erfahrbaren Anschauung ein individueller Gegenstand ist, so das Gegebene der Wesensanschauung ein reines Wesen (Edmund Husserl: Ideen zu einer reinen Phänomenologie und phänomenologischen Philosophie – Allgemeine Einführung in die reine Phänomenologie, in: Husserliana, vol. 4, Den Haag: Martinus Njihoff, 1950)”. Instead of with things as such (“Ding an sich”), we have to deal with phenomenological representations of subjects and objects, in consequence. The process of phenomenological cognition is hereby not yet concluded, however; in the way of epoché, consciousness has to be enlightened in order to be able to identify the significant phenomenological ideations, by a procedure of inclusion and exclusion. Nevertheless, the life remains unaltered as an entity, as unity, and so the legal life is considered to be such an entity or unity. “Der Rechtswissenscafter mag danach fragen, wo da sein Nutzen bleibe, ob er nicht vielmehr unnötig ins Gestrüpp philosophischer Spekulationen geraten sei. Später wird er jedoch rückblickend des unschätzbaren Gewinns inne. Die wirkliche Lebenswelt, so wie sie für die Menschen Geltung hat, ist ihm gegeben. Er erfährt nicht nur die verwirrende und niemals systematisch zu bewältigende Vielfalt der einzelnen Erscheinungen, sondern die in der Gegenwart gesehenen, aus der Vergangenheit heraufgeholten und in die Zukunft vorausprojizierten Wesenhaftigkeiten dieser Erscheinungen und ihrer Gesamtheiten. Er erfährt somit das, was die Phänomene zu dem macht, als das sie in verschiedenen menschlichen Bewusstsein unabhängig vom Zeitmodus in unverwechselbarer Identität erscheinen können [...]. Der Rechtswissenschafter steht nicht mehr allein, nur auf sich angeweisen dem Lebensverhältnis und dem gegenüber, was davon schon ausgesagt wurde. Er hat nicht der ordnende Geist zu sein, den nur sein persönliches immanentes Erfahren belehrt, sein eigenes visionäres ethisches Gefühl. Er sieht in der Lebenswelt nicht bloss isolierte Rechtssubjekte, von denen jedes den Schutzkreis um sich ziehen möchte. Die Lebenswelt, sein Tätigkeitsgebiet, liegt vor ihm ausgebreitet, so wie die unzähligen Rechtssubjekte sie unablässig gemeinsam neu formen. Jedes von ihnen trägt also die Verantwortung dafür mit, dass die Erscheinungen in der richtigen Intention gesehen, die Geltungen erfahren und vollzogen werden”.

In conclusion, the principal writing of Aloïs Troller is recommended in the highest degree for extensive lecture entirely.

Philosophical Valuation and Jurisprudential Significance

The relation between the partitional legal experience and the life in its entirety is structured in a methodological manner by phenomenological philosophy. Such a process or procedure transcends common methodology and logics by far and is considered to be a well-founded strategy to gain legal knowledge, to obtain true cognition of the legal order of a given legal community. Cognition is accepted as being singular, individual and subjective, and nevertheless intersubjective order is directed to a common aim, valid for all participants within a given sphere of life. This takes into consideration that it is in the individual, where the universal lies in the highest degree.

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

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