Rules of Law: The Propositional Form

in The Theory of Rules

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780226487953
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226487977 | DOI:
Rules of Law: The Propositional Form

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This chapter discusses the propositional form of rules of law. The “anomaly” about a rule of law, that it “is made for the purpose of covering its own breach” was an “anomaly” which depends on first seeing the rule as in a fundamental sense a command. The Oughtness of a legal consequence in a propositional form of rule lay in an inevitable and similar flux between legal rightness and ethical rightness. Rules of law were rules with the function of accomplishing control by language-communication. There were two elements in this: language-communication and accomplishment of control. The very propositional form of [a] rule of law was itself an ideal type, not a description of the actual and current rules. Current rules were very commonly elliptical in phrasing; on the case-law side, they rarely have an accepted form of precise wording—what is “the universally accepted rule” is an idea, not a phrasing.

Keywords: rules of law; propositional form; command; Oughtness; legal rightness; ethical rightness; language; communication

Chapter.  6559 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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