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Why legal philosophy?

The constantly growing ocean of legal knowledge is no longer easily comprehensible. Why then should we think about legal philosophy anyway?

It is exactly because of this increasing complexity of our legal systems that legal philosophical competences become even more important. Legal research and practice highly depend on the guiding function and the analytical approach of legal philosophical expertise in order to manage acute legal problems.

In addition, legal philosophy serves an educational purpose as it promotes the critical reflection on norms, conventions and judgments. It has, finally, a methodological dimension since it clarifies the preconditions for the accurate and rational justification of legal decisions. Legal philosophy thus enhances the quality of legal reasoning.

All this can be labelled the extrinsic value of legal philosophy. This value consists of the guiding, analytical, educational and methodological significance of legal philosophy for legal practitioners, courts, and scholars.

Legal philosophy also has an intrinsic value. It provides us with precise knowledge what we talk about when we talk about law. Legal philosophy leads to a higher level of cognitive reflexivity: it increases our awareness of what we do when we think, argue, and act legally. This is because the answers to the cardinal questions of legal philosophy influence the fundamental approach, the professional identities, and the quality of legal actions in all legal professions.

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