Norms, institutions, and institutional facts

Law and Philosophy 17 (3):301-345 (1998)
Norms explained as grounds of practical judgment, using example of queue. Some norms informal, inexact, depend on common understanding (`conventions'); some articulated in context of two-tier normative order: `rules', explicit or implicit. Logical structure of rules displayed. Informal and formal normative order explained, `institutional facts' depend on acts and events interpreted in the light of normative order. Practical force of rules differentiated; either `absolute application' or `strict application' or `discretionary application', depending on second-tier empowerment. Discretion can be guided by values, principles standards. Pervasiveness of institutions and institutional facts, especially but not only in relation to institutions of state-law, including constitution and state-institutions. Searle's and Ruiter's theories of institution, institutional fact, considered: `constitutive rule' rejected in favour of `underlying principle', structure of `institutive, consequential and terminative' rules explained and defended. Ruiter's conception of `institutional `régime' considered and adopted, validity of norms and normative `régimes' considered and differentiated from truth of statements of institutional fact.
Keywords norms  queues  conventions  rules  informal and formal normative order  institutional facts  practical force (of rules)  values  principles  standards  institutions of state-law  constitution  Searle  Ruiter  ‘constitutive rule’  ‘underlying principle’  validity  truth
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