Access, Promulgation, and Propaganda


The very idea of promulgation has been given little to no treatment in the philosophy of law. In this exploratory essay, I introduce three possible theories of promulgation: the ‘no-theory theory’ (which treats promulgation as a matter of particular contexts), the ‘conveyance theory’ (which treats promulgation as a function of intellectual good faith interpreters), and ‘agonistic theory’ (which treats promulgation as indistinguishable from propaganda). I suggest that (at least) three kinds of models are consistent with the theories, and can potentially help us understand when law is successfully promulgated in particular legal contexts: the spread model, the chain model, and the memetic model. I end the paper by comparing the two theories with respect to a case study. Throughout I will show that the conveyance and agonistic theories have a serious advantage over the no-theory theory, in that they allow us to comparatively examine the epistemic weaknesses of diverse theories about the grounding of law on the basis of their contents.

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