A deflationary approach to legal ontology

Synthese 203:1-20 (2024)
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Abstract

Contra recent, inflationary views, the paper submits a deflationary approach to legal ontology. It argues, in particular, that to answer ontological questions about legal entities, we only need conceptual analysis and empirical investigation. In developing this proposal, it follows Amie Thomasson’s ‘easy ontology’ and her strategy for answering whether ordinary objects exist. The purpose of this is to advance a theory that, on the one hand, does not fall prey to sceptical views about legal reality (viz., that ontological truths about legal entities are established by metaphysical principles); and, on the other, is compatible with common-sense jurisprudence (viz., that there in fact exist legal entities, and they all have important practical implications). While this methodology is common to legal philosophers interested in elucidating the ‘artifactual nature’ of law, the paper departs from their projects by taking a step forward in connecting this deflationary approach to legal ontology with an expressivist account of legal discourse, thus providing enough resources to satisfy the general ambition of jurisprudence, viz., to establish the conditions for the analysis of legal reality and its normative character.

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Miguel Garcia-Godinez
University College, Cork

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References found in this work

On what grounds what.Jonathan Schaffer - 2009 - In David Manley, David J. Chalmers & Ryan Wasserman (eds.), Metametaphysics: New Essays on the Foundations of Ontology. Oxford University Press. pp. 347-383.
Ontology Made Easy.Amie Lynn Thomasson - 2014 - New York: Oup Usa.
The Concept of Law.Hla Hart - 1961 - Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press UK.
Ordinary Objects.Amie L. Thomasson (ed.) - 2007 - New York: Oxford University Press.

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