Volume 33, 1998
Philosophy of Law
Hans Jörg Sandkühler
Pluralism and the Universality of Rights
The problem of the coexistence of cultures arises inside modern societies that have a constitutional set-up expressed by 'pluralism.' Their central problem lies in the relationship between individuality and sociality, freedom and order. The function of law is to transform absolute pluralism into a relative pluralism limited by fundamental common interests, thus overcoming the problems that arise from the variety of different views of the world and from different values. In the context of H. Kelsen's Reine Rechtlehre, we ask: 1. Do pre-positive legal grounds exist that can claim to have universal validity under the conditions of pluralism? 2. Can the demand for pre-positive principles of law be compatible with renouncing particular material assertions of values on which no agreement can be reached and replacing them with the universally valid formal principles demanded in pluralistic democracies?