Change search
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf
The Canberra Plan and the Nature of Law
Stockholm University, Faculty of Law, Department of Law.
2016 (English)In: Metaphilosophy of Law / [ed] Pawel Banas, Adam Dyrda, Tomasz Gizbert-Studnicki, Oxford, UK: Bloomsbury Academic, 2016, p. 81-119Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In this article, I shall consider a method for conceptual analysis which has been called the Canberra Plan and which might perhaps be conceived as an alternative approach to conceptual analysis in the classical sense. The Canberra Plan is not, however, aimed primarily at the elucidation of the relevant concept, but at the metaphysical question of identifying the descriptive (or natural or physical) property that corresponds to the concept.[1] The idea of the Canberra Plan is, more specifically, (a) to clarify the import of the concept by reference to the role the concept plays in a network of concepts, principles, and claims, and (b) to investigate and see what, if any, descriptive property corresponds to the concept thus analyzed. What I want to do in this article, then, is first to introduce the Canberra Plan and give some consideration to its advantages and disadvantages and, secondly, to apply it to the concept of law, in order not only to clarify the import of this concept, but also to find out what, if any, descriptive property corresponds to the concept.

The question of what descriptive property, if any, corresponds to the concept of law should be of considerable interest to jurisprudents, not only because the meta-ethical question of whether legal properties are descriptive, or even natural or physical, is generally interesting, but also because the existence of such descriptive (or natural or physical) legal properties is precisely what is asserted by legal positivists through the so-called social thesis, which has it that we determine what the law is using factual criteria. That is to say, if the analyst succeeds in establishing that the property of being law is a descriptive property, he would seem to have offered at least some support for the social thesis of legal positivism and, therefore, for legal positivism.

In order to investigate this interesting question, I shall carry out a Canberra-style analysis of the concept of law, and I shall argue, tentatively, (1) that X is law if, and only if, (i) X is a relation between (a) a system of norms all of which can be traced back to one of several recognized sources of law that can be handled on the basis of exclusively factual considerations, and (b) an organization that is constituted and regulated by the norms of the system and whose task it is to interpret and apply these norms, (ii) X aspires to regulate social life in general, (iii) X is non-optional, and (iv) X claims to trump competing normative systems. In addition, I shall argue, equally tentatively, (2a) that the property of being law is precisely the descriptive property that satisfies the conditions (i)-(iv), (2b) that this property is a role property, not a realizer property, and (2c) that there is very little to be said about the legal realizer property on a general level and that the legal realizer property differs in this regard from moral and mental realizer properties.

I shall, however, also argue (3a) that the analyst who applies the Canberra Plan to the concept of law will almost certainly find it very difficult to come up with a collection of sufficiently rich analytic platitudes, especially what Frank Jackson calls input and output clauses, (3b) that he is not likely to get much help from the idea of mature legal thinking (introduced here as an analog to Jackson’s idea of mature folk morality), and (3c) that the so-called permutation problem, which is very problematic, will arise as a result of the above-mentioned lack of input and output clauses. And I shall therefore argue (4) that, as things stand, the Canberra Plan will not help us clarify the nature of law or lend support to the strong social thesis of legal positivism.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford, UK: Bloomsbury Academic, 2016. p. 81-119
Keywords [en]
The Canberra Plan, analysis, David Lewis, nature of law
National Category
Philosophy
Research subject
Jurisprudence
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-160304ISBN: 9781509906079 (print)ISBN: 9781509906086 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-160304DiVA, id: diva2:1248961
Available from: 2018-09-17 Created: 2018-09-17 Last updated: 2018-10-01Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text in DiVA

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Spaak, Torben
By organisation
Department of Law
Philosophy

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar

isbn
urn-nbn

Altmetric score

isbn
urn-nbn
Total: 6 hits
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf