Separating rules from normativity

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Often the notion of a rule is connected to the guidance of behaviour. The expression ‘following a rule’ nicely illustrates this. The aim of this paper is to show that this connection between rules and normativity is much looser than is often assumed, and that—although there are rules which aim to guide behaviour—the notion of a rule and the notion of normativity are not necessarily connected.this aim is pursued by two arguments. The first argument tries to show that rules that guide behaviour, regulative rules, are at the same time constitutive rules and that therefore the opposition of regulative and constitutive rules is a bogus one. To this purpose, it is first shown that there are more constitutive rules than counts as-rules only. Secondly it is argued that there can be ‘deontic facts’, facts that specify what should be done, and which can therefore guide behaviour. These facts can fulfil the role of guiding behaviour, and therefore rules are not essential to fulfil this function. Thirdly it is shown that two main kinds of ‘regulative’ rules are in fact both kinds of constitutive rules, and more in particular duty imposing fact to fact-rules or obligation-creating dynamic rules. The existence of these obligations and duties are deontic facts. Fourthly it is argued, very briefly, that other kinds of regulative rules are, for similar reasons, also constitutive rules and that therefore regulative rules are a subcategory of constitutive rules.the second argument tries to give an account of rules as constitutive rules by presenting rules as constraints on which facts can go together, or—to state the same in more technical jargon—as constraints on possible worlds. To this purpose the argument takes from model-theoretic semantics the ideas of a possible world and of constraints that define which worlds count as possible. The technical aspects of model-theoretic semantics are mostly ignored, however, since they are irrelevant for the purposes of this paper. The paper gives a mostly informal indication of the logic of constitutive rules by positing them as ‘soft constraints’ in between the constraints that define sets of possible worlds and declarative sentences which are contingently true or false.keywordsconstitutive rulesconstraints on possible worldsdeontic factsdutiesobligationsregulative rules.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProblems of normativity, rules and rule-following
EditorsM. Araszkiewicz, P. Banas, T. Gizbert-Studnicki, K. Pleszka
Place of PublicationCham Heidelberg New York Dordrecht London
ISBN (Print)978-33-1909-375-8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015

Publication series

SeriesLaw and Philosophy Library


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