Obligations from Artifacts

Luka Burazin, Kenneth Einar Himma & Corrado Roversi (eds.), Law as an Artifact (Oxford, 2018) Forthcoming

18 Pages Posted: 8 Sep 2017

See all articles by Brian Bix

Brian Bix

University of Minnesota Law School

Date Written: August 14, 2017


A persistent question in modern legal philosophy is whether or how (human-created) legal rules and legal systems can produce moral obligations for citizens. Contemporary theorists have sought answers to this problem in the ideas of conventions, coordination problems, and plans. Some theorists argue that the law - that all legal rules - create general and at-least-presumptive moral obligations; others argue that the law, at best, occasionally triggers pre-existing moral obligations - some legal rules creating moral obligations for some people. This chapter explores the issue of how and when law creates moral obligations, and also considers a more recent approach to the nature of law which has raised doubts regarding whether the law is in fact artifactual in the way most theorists (and most citizens) believe.

Keywords: artifact, David Hume, is-ought, Hans Kelsen, legal positivism, Joseph Raz, Scott Shapiro, M.B.E. Smith

Suggested Citation

Bix, Brian, Obligations from Artifacts (August 14, 2017). Luka Burazin, Kenneth Einar Himma & Corrado Roversi (eds.), Law as an Artifact (Oxford, 2018) Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3032491

Brian Bix (Contact Author)

University of Minnesota Law School ( email )

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