50 Acta Jur. Hng. 1 (2009)

handle is hein.journals/ajur50 and id is 1 raw text is: 














1216-2574 / USD 20.00                                      ACTA  JURIDICA  HUNGARICA
@ 2009 Akadimiai Kiadd, Budapest                               50, No 1, pp. 1-30 (2009)
                                                          DOI: 10.1556/AJur.50.2009.1.1




CSABA   VARGA*


The Quest for Formalism in Law
Ideals of Systemicity  and  Axiomatisability
between   Utopianism   and  Heuristic Assertion


    Abstract. After the relationship between form and content in art and law is surveyed and the
    axiomatic approach to systemicity in both philosophy and law of both the classic and
    modem  ages is scrutinised, the want of axiomatisability-in presence of correlations between
    axiomatism and law notwithstanding-is established. The very nucleus of any axiomatic
    system is that in some set of building blocks there are few foundation stones from which one
    given overall building can be built up in one given form and with the inherent necessity of
    that the operation, in the security of reaching the same end result, can be repeated by any
    actor at any future time. However, the relationship amongst the constituents of legal systems
    is not such as to allow to make up their edifice in exclusively one form, only if the procedure
    is defined and some constituents as foundation stones are designated. For legal systems are
    truly dynamic systems thoroughly built on substantive interconnections. Therefore they resist-
    albeit idealise-axiomatisation. In consequence, exclusively the heuristic value of the
    axiomatic ideal can be fully implemented and scholarly realised in the domain of law.

    Keywords:  form, content, substance; philosophy, aesthetics; Hegel, Marx, Lukics; mos
    geometricus; legal concepts, law-codes


Formalism is a recurrent topic in debates on law without, however, its
components being analysed to the adequate depth. In the English-speaking
legal  world  it takes  precedence as the duality or antagonism of form and
substance'   the fact notwithstanding that its origins in philosophy have once


    * Scientific Adviser, Institute for Legal Studies of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences;

Professor, Director of the Institute for Legal Philosophy of the Catholic University of
Hungary.
E-mail: varga@jog.mta.hu
    1 For some  classics, see Kennedy, D.: Form and Substance in Private Law Adjudica-
tion. Harvard Law Review,  89 (1976) 8, 1685-1778; Atiyah, P. S.: Form and Substance in
Anglo-American   Law.  Oxford-New   York,  1987; Summers,  R. S.: The Jurisprudence  of
Law's  Form  and Substance. Aldershot-Brookfield, 2000. For some recent papers, cf. also
Epstein, E. J.: Codification of Civil Law in the People's Republic of China: Form  and
Substance in the Reception of Concepts and Elements  of Western Private Law. University

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