Fuzzy Law: A Theory of Quasi-Legal Systems
Posted: 9 Jul 2015
Date Written: July 8, 2015
Our lives are permeated by various forms of legality, produced by multiple bodies - both statist and non-statist. The pervasive presence of non-statist, soft law schemes in the contemporary society poses a challenge for legal theory: how to conceptualize legal-like structures that evolve outside the boundaries of the state and are able nonetheless to exert significant normative power? Understanding this phenomenon requires, I argue, a new model of law that will not be bounded by the binary (either/or) structure of traditional jurisprudence and sociology of law. I respond to this challenge by developing a degree-theoretic model of legal-normativity which I term "fuzzy law". This model offers a new conceptual vocabulary for thinking about soft law as a social phenomenon. The model draws on three main theoretical sources: the theory of complementary pairs, fuzzy-set theory, and defeasible reasoning. I examine the jurisprudential and sociological implications of the fuzzy law model through a discussion of the dialectics of reasoning with fuzzy rules and an exploration of the coordination dynamics of quasi-legal systems.
Keywords: Fuzzy-set theory; fuzzy law; defeasible reasoning; complementary pairs; quasi-legal systems
JEL Classification: K10
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