The distinction between law and ethics imposed by legal positivism is becoming increasingly empirically indefensible, as the two become ever more strongly interwoven. In the application of the law on healthcare, equal treatment or privacy, moral and legal analyses and arguments are closely interwoven. This raises the question of how law and ethics are to be distinguished from each other, and how the links between them can be structured.
The aim of this project is to gain an insight into the changing relationship between law and ethics and to develop new models to describe the differences and correspondences between law and ethics, and the relationship between them. An important question here is how the dynamics of law and ethics can be conceptualized, and how we can understand law and ethics as continuing practices of argument and action. Ideals play an important role in the dynamics of law and ethics. In addition, modern legal development is determined to a significant degree by the interaction between international and national legal systems.
Particular attention is paid to the debate between natural law and legal positivism, based on the idea that acknowledgement of the role of ideals offers a perspective to overcome the contradiction between the two. But we will also be looking at communicative approaches to legislation, in which legislation is not seen primarily as a contribution to perfecting a coherent doctrine of law, but above all as the result of and the basic principle of a continuing process of communication between citizens and government. There is a strong link here with the part of the Pioneer program continued within the VF program 'The primacy of the legislature'.