The Origins of Civil Society and the Function of Law

Garrett Barden and Tim Murphy

in Law and Justice in Community

Published in print August 2010 | ISBN: 9780199592685
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595653 | DOI:
The Origins of Civil Society and the Function of Law

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How did it come about that humans live together in a community? This chapter argues — in contrast to ‘social contract’ approaches — that human society is a spontaneous ordering of the natural sociability of humans. Civil society is a spontaneous order that gives rise to a spontaneous jural order made up of the ‘living law’ or communal moral law, which state or positive law expresses in part and develops. It emphasizes the similarity between the practice of language and the social and jural domains, and argues that the function of all law is to sustain a peaceful social order. The discussions in the chapter are drawn together with reference to Thomas Hobbes's De Cive (1642) and Leviathan (1651).

Keywords: civil society; social contract; spontaneous order; social order; jural order; living law; communal moral law; function of law; Thomas Hobbes

Chapter.  12243 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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