Conventions and the Normativity of Law

Andrei Marmor

in Positive Law and Objective Values

Published in print May 2001 | ISBN: 9780198268970
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191713187 | DOI:
Conventions and the Normativity of Law

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The idea that the law is founded on social conventions suggests a very close analogy between the law and other conventional practices, such as games and artistic genres. The law claims to be a legitimate authority; it claims normative supremacy over all other normative domains; and all this is actually enforced by means of threats, coercion, and sheer force. This chapter argues that the normativity of constitutive conventions is conditionally mandatory, and that the concept of conditional normativity explains how the law, like other conventional practices, engenders reasons for action. The law, unlike many other conventional practices, enforces its normative demands by the use of force and the threat of violence. The legal community is a very ‘generous’ club with involuntary membership.

Keywords: normative supremacy; normativity; constitutive conventions; violence; authority; social conventions; involuntary membership; supremacy

Chapter.  12437 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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