Назва статті A “Defense” of Cognitivism and the Law

PhD in Law, Professor of Philosophy of Law School of Law University of Navarra (Pamplona, Navarra, Spain) ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3719-2512 jcianciardo@unav.es


Назва журналу Юридичний журнал «Право України» (україномовна версія)
Випуск 1/2021
Сторінки [139-153]

This paper consists of a journey marked by three important milestones: (i) an overview of the controversy between cognitivism and non-cognitivism, (ii) a review of the different theoretical positions around this controversy, and (iii) an assessment on the impact of such controversy in theory of law and in the way the work of the jurist is understood. The ultimate objective is to demonstrate that, if followed coherently, noncognitivism can only lead to the unintelligibility of the legal phenomenon. Jointly, and as corollary of the latter, it will be revealed that even highly convinced advocates of noncognitivism implicitly or unintentionally ground their legal theorization in cognitivisttype of assumptions. The author adds that a non-cognitivist judge has a serious risk of incurring in a certain type of professional hypocrisy that would consist in camouflaging the real reasons that led her to choose for the application of a norm instead of another, or to choose one method of interpretation over others, with empty formulas that have nothing to do with those real reasons.

As we will see, a non-cognitivist jurist approaches legal norms from a very different perspective than a cognitivist. Although it may sound shocking, justice has little or nothing to do with the work of the non-cognitivist from his perspective. This means that laws can have whatever moral content, that their reasonableness and/or their justice value is defined by the legislator, and that most of the time there are no strict reasons that justify what is that the legislator did when passing a law.


Ключові слова cognitivism; non-cognitivism; practical reason; moral judgments; skepticism


Authored books

 1. Atienza M, Curso de argumentación jurídica (Trotta S. A. 2013) (in Spanish).

2. Bayón J C, La normatividad del derecho: deber jurídico y razones para la acción (Centro de Estudios Constitucionales 1991) (in Spanish).

3. Bisogno G and Vázquez F, Decálogo del Jurista Contemporáneo: memorias del pensamiento ius-filosófico de Jacinto Valdés Martí nez (Tirant lo Blanch 2019) (in Spanish).

4. Cárcova C M, Las teorías jurídicas post positivistas (2nd ed, Abeledo Perrot) (in Spanish).

5. Copleston F, Historia de la Filosofía I. Grecia y Roma (Ariel 2000–2004) (in Spanish).

6. Correas M and Ignacio C, Constructivismo ético y justicia procedimental en John Ralwls (UNAM 2004) (in Spanish).

7. Correas M and Ignacio C, Filosofía del Derecho, tomo I (Abeledo Perrot) (in Italian).

8. Di Blasi F, Dio e la legge naturale. Una rilettura di Tommaso d’Aquino (Edizione ETS 1999) (in Italian).

9. Finnis J, Natural Law and Natural Rights (2nd ed, OUP) (in English).

10. Gilson E, Constantes philosophiques de l’étre (Vrin 1983) (in Franch).

11. Hartmann R S., El conocimiento del bien. Crítica de la razón axiológica (Fondo de Cultura Económica 1965) (in Spanish).

12. Hittinger R, A Critique of the New Natural Law Theory (University of Notre Dame Press 1987) (in English).

13. Höffe O, Estudios sobre teoría del derecho y la justicia (Alfa 1988) (in Spanish).

14. Kaufmann A, La filosofía del derecho en la posmodernidad (Temis 1992) (in Spanish).

15. Lombardi V L, Corso di Filosofia del Diritto (CEDAM 1981) (in Italian). 16. Nino C S, Derecho, moral y política. Una revisión de la teoría general del Derecho (Ariel 1994) (in Spanish). 17. Ollero A, ¿Tiene razón el Derecho? Entre método científico y voluntad política (Congreso de los Diputados 1996) (in Spanish).

18. Orrego C, Hart, abogado del positivismo jurídico (Eunsa 1997) (in Spanish).


Edited books

19. Greco J, ‘La virtud, la suerte y el problema pirrónico’ in Eraña Á and García C L and King P, Teorías contemporáneas de la justificación epistémica. Volumen I: Teorías de la justificación en la epistemología analítica (UNAM 2012) 439–7 (in Spanish).

20. Luigi L V (ed), Scritti per Luigi Lombardi Vallauri (Wolters Kluwer-Cedam 2016) (in Italian).

21. Seoane J-An, ‘Un código ideal y procedimental de la razón práctica: la teoría de la argumentación jurídica de Robert Alexy’ in Bermúdez P S (coord), De la argumentación jurídica a la hermenéutica: revisión crítica de algunas teorías contemporáneas (Comares 2005) 105-196 (in Spanish).

22. Serna P, ‘El derecho a la vida en el horizonte cultural europeo de fin de siglo’ en Serna P and Correas M and Ignacio C, El derecho a la vida (Eunsa 1998) 23–79 (in Spanish).



 23. ‘Moral Cognitivism vs. Non-Cognitivism First’ in Hegel W G F and Zalta E N, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2010, <http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-9973.00225> (accessed: 27.01.2021) (in English).

24. Bett R, ‘Pyrrho’ in Zalta E N (ed), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2018) <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2018/entries/pyrrho> (accessed: 27.01.2021) (in English). 25. Molina O A, ‘Estudios críticos del Derecho’ in Enciclopedia de Filosofía y Teoría del Derecho, vol I (UNAM 2015) (in Spanish).


 Journal articles

26. Cárcova C M, ‘Notas acerca de la teoría crítica del Derecho’ (2003) 38 Revista Jurídica Universidad Interamericana de Puerto Rico 187–97, 187 (in Spanish).

27. Correas M and Ignacio C, ‘El cierre de la razón en el Derecho’ (2011) 64 Persona y Derecho 121–142, 125 (in Spanish).

28. Correas M and Ignacio C, ‘La interpretación jurídica como interpretación práctica’ (2005) 52 Persona y Derecho. Revista de fundamentación de las instituciones jurídicas y de derechos humanos 413–43, 416–7 (in Spanish).

29. Correas M and Ignacio C, ‘Sobre bienes humanos, naturaleza humana y ley natural. Reflexiones a partir de las Ideas de Javier Hervada y John Finnis’ (2015) 71 Persona y Derecho 229–56, 243 (in Spanish).

30. Guibourg R and Atienza M, ‘Entrevista a Ricardo Guibourg’ (2003) 26 Doxa. Cuadernos de Filosofía del Derecho 12–4 (in Spanish).

31. Kaufmann A, ‘En torno al conocimiento científico del derecho’ (1994) 31 Persona y Derecho, 19 (in Spanish).

32. Serna P, ‘Sobre las respuestas al positivismo jurídico’ (1997) 37 Persona y Derecho 296 (in Spanish).

33. Viola F, ‘Ragione pratica e diritto naturale’ (1993) 1 Ragion Pratica 63–4 (in Italian).