Where Does Law Come From?

Philosophical Inquiry 32 (3-4):85-92 (2010)
Law, like language, is the product of social evolution, embodied in custom. The conditions for the emergence of law—embodiment, scarcity, rationality, relatedness and plurality—are outlined, and the context for the emergence of law—dispute resolution—is analysed. Adjudication procedures, rules and enforcementmechanisms, the elements of law, emerge from this context. The characteristics of such a customarily evolved law are its severely limited scope, its negativity, andits horizontality. It is suggested that a legal system (or legal systems) based on the principles of archaic law could answer the needs of social order without permitting the paternalistic interferences with liberty characteristic of contemporary legal systems
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