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Comparing Natural and Normative Inquiry The “Real” and the “Right” as Ordering Concepts

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Frederic Kellogg
The George Washington University
United States

The “real” is for C.S. Peirce an ordering concept in natural inquiry. In normative inquiry, even more apparent is the role of the “right” as an ordering concept. The notion of the right binds community and directly influences action, as does that of the real. There are two distinct bodies of literature on the “right,” the legal and the moral.

The early literature of legal pragmatism suggests that: 1) normative inquiry, and normative knowledge, has been driven in law by disturbances in the social fabric channeled into systematized dispute resolution; 2) legal normativity is a web or network of standards emerging from disparate practices and woven together by professionals whose mission it is to impose coherence, predictability, and consistency; 3) the doubtful legal case is viewed by pragmatism as a stage in a continuing process of classification, in that sense comparable to the experimental inquiry of natural science.


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