Two Concepts of Institutional Rules

Jaap Hage*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In this article, it is argued that rules have two main functions, the practicedefining
function and the constraining (fact-to-fact) function. These two functions
are compatible. In their function as constraints, some rules are also indirectly regulative.
In both of their functions, rules differ from the summaries (rules of
thumb) that Rawls discussed and opposed to the constitutive (fact-to-fact) rules
which make that some decisions are the right ones.
In his work, first on the philosophy of language and later on social ontology,
Searle focused on one kind of constitutive rules: counts-as rules, which are constitutive
in the sense that they attach new facts to the existence of “old” ones. In doing
so, Searle created the scientific interest in constitutive rules which they deserve.
However, because of his narrow focus on counts-as rules, Searle also created
the impression that counts-as rules are all there is to constituti
Original languageEnglish
Article number1
Pages (from-to)21-39
Number of pages19
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2018


  • Constitutive rules, Counts-as rules, Duties, Fact-to-fact rules, Obligations, Practice-defining rules, Regulative rules.

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