Facts, Reasons and Joint Action: Thoughts on the Social Ontology of Law
(2014) 44 Rechtstheorie (Forthcoming)
Discusiones (in Spanish) Forthcoming)
17 Pages Posted: 30 Apr 2014 Last revised: 2 Apr 2015
Date Written: April 28, 2014
This paper explores the hypothesis that law is a kind of joint action. The paper proceeds by way of a comment on Carlos Bernal's ‘Austin, Hart and Shapiro: Three Variations on Law as an Entity Grounded in a Social Practice’ (published in Rechtstheorie and to be published in Discusiones [in Spanish]), which aims to show how social ontology illuminates the nature of law, and more specifically, how the modern study of social reality makes clear the frustrated promise of Austin and Hart’s work and the power of Shapiro’s account (suitably tweaked and elaborated) by contrast. The paper considers and contributes further to Bernal’s conversation with Austin, Hart and Shapiro, while discussing also salient contributions from Aquinas and others. The paper shares Bernal's concern to explore the way in which, if at all, law is the joint action of some group, but is not wholly persuaded by his argument and briefly outlines an alternative.
Keywords: jurisprudence, joint action, social ontology, Austin, Hart, Shapiro, collective intention
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation