Laws as Conventional Norms

In David Plunkett, Scott Shapiro & Kevin Toh (eds.), Dimensions of Normativity: New Essays on Metaethics and Jurisprudence. Oxford: Oxford University Press (2019)
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A persistent worry concerning conventionalist accounts of law is that such accounts are ill equipped to account for law’s special normativity. I offer a particular kind of conventionalist account that is based on the practice-dependent account of conventional norms I have offered elsewhere and consider whether it is vulnerable to the Normativity Objection. I argue that it isn’t. It can account for all the ways in which law can justly claim to be normative. While there are ways of being normative that it cannot account for, it is an error to suppose that law is normative in any of those ways.

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Nicholas Southwood
Australian National University


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