Law as an Achievement of Governance

43 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2021 Last revised: 23 Apr 2021

Date Written: January 7, 2021


Investigations into the concept of law have attempted to characterize the species “law” without a characterization of the genus “governance.” The failure to attend to the complex concept of governance has led philosophers to see law as a mode, rather than an achievement, of governance. This essay highlights several elements of governance; most importantly, it identifies a distinction between governance structures and functioning governance systems as a central reason for the confusion of modes with achievements. It then introduces the idea of an achievement concept of law. It argues that Hart is best understood as contributing to our understanding of governance generally while Dworkin’s concept of law illustrates the confusion of a mode for an achievement. The essay concludes by noting several advantages of treating law as an achievement.

Keywords: Philosophy of Law, Jurisprudence, Concept of Law, Rule of Law

Suggested Citation

Kornhauser, Lewis A., Law as an Achievement of Governance (January 7, 2021). NYU School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 21-04, Available at SSRN: or

Lewis A. Kornhauser (Contact Author)

New York University School of Law ( email )

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New York, NY 10012-1099
United States
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