This article-based dissertation explores issues which are foundational for the theory of comparative law. Ideas drawn from neighbouring disciplines (philosophy, social sciences epistemology, anthropology) are made to interact with law: the conception of otherness, the understanding of pluralism and the meaning of context are basic – in this sense underground – theoretical issues that determine the subsequent methodological choices of the comparatist.
Although each article stands on its own, the overall aim of this dissertation is to advance a certain attitude toward comparativism as an academic endeavour. It aims at raising awareness of the risks connected to reductionism and simplification and argues for a conception of legal comparative knowledge that embraces complexity and that reflects on its own epistemological status. Both the understanding of the compared laws and the ethical position of the comparatist need to be reflected upon, which is what these contributions purport to do.