Schauer's Anti‐Essentialism

33 Pages Posted: 26 May 2016

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 2016


In his new book, The Force of Law, Frederick Schauer maintains that law has no necessary properties (a position he calls legal anti‐essentialism), and that therefore jurisprudents should not assume that an inquiry into the nature of law has to be a search for such properties. I argue, however, that Schauer's attempt to show that legal anti‐essentialism is a defensible position fails, because his one main argument (the cognitive science argument) is either irrelevant or else incomplete, depending on how one understands it, and because the other main argument (the family resemblance argument) is false.

Suggested Citation

Spaak, Torben, Schauer's Anti‐Essentialism (June 2016). Ratio Juris, Vol. 29, Issue 2, pp. 182-214, 2016, Available at SSRN: or

Torben Spaak (Contact Author)

Stockholm University ( email )

S-106 91 Stockholm
46 8 16 45 89 (Phone)
46 8 612 41 09 (Fax)

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