Fuzzy Law: A Theory of Quasi-Legality
36 Pages Posted: 5 Apr 2016 Last revised: 5 Sep 2016
Date Written: April 4, 2016
Contemporary society is highly juridified. Our social lives are permeated with various forms of legality, produced by multiple bodies, both statist and non-statist. The pervasive presence of non-statist, soft law schemes in 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 nevertheless to exert significant normative power? Understanding this phenomenon requires a new model of law that is not 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." The model offers a new conceptual vocabulary for thinking about soft law as a social phenomenon. The model is based 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 in a discussion of the dialectics of reasoning with fuzzy rules and an exploration of the coordination dynamics of quasi-legal systems.
Keywords: fuzzy law, vagueness, defeasible reasoning, soft law, complementary pairs
JEL Classification: K10
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