Luidger Röckrath, LL.M. (Berkeley), wiss. Ass., München

Umverteilung durch Privatrecht?
Zur vernunftrechtlichen Rekonstruktion von Aristoteles' Gerechtigkeitslehre in Weinribs formaler Rechtstheorie

ARSP 83 (1997) S. 506-542


  • I.    Einleitung
  • II.    Weinribs angeblicher methodischer Formalismus
  • 1.    Der Frontalangriff auf jede Form von Funktionalismus
  • 2.    Die Methode des Formalismus
  • a.    Die interne Perspektive als Ausgangspunkt der Analyse
  • b.    Kohärenz
  • c.    Die formal-strukturelle Begründung der Gerechtigkeitsformen
  • d.    Die Rolle des positiven Rechts
  • e.    Weinribs Position im US-amerikanischen Methodenstreit: Eigenständigkeit und Bestimmtheit des Rechts
  • III.    Jedem das seine, aber was? Zum Vorwurf der Inhaltsleere gegen die Gerechtigkeitskonzeption des Aristoteles
  • 1.    Die gegenständliche Einheitslehre

  •                          Abstract:

    Redistribution through Private Law?

    - The natural law reconstruction of Aristotle's doctrine of justice in Weinrib's formalist legal theory -

    This article explores Ernest J. Weinrib's Legal Formalism which he defines as the possibility of an "immanent moral rationality". A very stringent requirement of coherence, which can only be satisfied by strict monism on the level of legal principle, is the focal point in his theory. Taking this extreme position, he eliminates rather than solves one of the most controversial issues in contemporary anglo-american legal theory from Critical Legal Studies to Dworkin: The possibility of resolving conflicts between legal principles by a method of reasoning which is legal and not political.

    Weinrib links his formalist account of the law to Aristotle's distinction between corrective and distributive justice; the former being the exclusive form of private law and the latter of public law. The novelty of his interpretation consists in stressing the sharp separation between these two forms of justice. By contrast, continental legal philosophers have tended to emphasize the common footing of both forms in the principle of equality and to concede only derivative status to corrective justice. Weinrib gives a Kantian reconstruction of Aristotle's account of justice. He takes the position of Kantian constructivism and claims that normativity is immanent in the concept of free will understood as the capacity to abstract from empirical particularities and to take pure reason as the principal guidance of action. Corrective justice, or Kantian Right, is the most fundamental expression of this normativity and must therefore prevail over distributive justice.

    Weinrib claims that the negligence standard can be derived directly from the principle of interactional equality which is embodied in corrective justice. The author of this article argues that this kind of argument is futile because, although legal principles on the highest level of abstraction are highly relevant for issues of substantive law, they are not determinate enough to control their solution.