Acts of the State and Representation in Edith Stein

Journal of Social Ontology 6 (1):21-45 (2020)
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This paper discusses the thesis defended by Edith Stein that certain acts can be attributed to the State. According to Stein, the State is a social structure characterized by sovereignty. As such, it is responsible for the production, interpretation, and application of law. These tasks require the performance of acts, most of which are what Stein calls “social acts” like enactments and orders. For Stein, the acts in question are made by the organs of the State, but in the name of the State, and are thus attributed to the State via a relation of representation. In the first section, the paper presents Stein’s thesis that the sovereignty of the State entails a series of legal prerogatives, which in turn result in various social acts being ascribed to the State through its representatives. In the second section, the paper critically discusses Stein’s views, notably her theory of representation, and her account of the nature of the State, while emphasizing its most interesting aspects, namely, its fine-grained analyses of the various acts that are attributed to the State.
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Archival date: 2020-05-22
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