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The Artifact Nature of Law

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What are the functions of law? Various philosophers have put forth differing views on law. Hans Kelsen, for instance, believed that the primary function of law was the monopolization of violence. Other philosophers, such as H.L.A. Hart, maintained that the coercive aspect of law was necessary but marginal. Ultimately, however, the most important function of law is to prevent crime. Whether law has a coercive or non-coercive role is a matter of opinion.

First-order theories of law

First-order theories of law are theoretical frameworks that aim to provide an account of a phenomenon. The proper target of such a theory depends on various methodological commitments, including determining when a theory is a success, what sorts of data are sought to be systematized, and what sort of arguments can legitimately be used to judge among theories. The most common targets of first-order theories of law are law and ethics, the constitution, and the rule of justice.

Artifact nature of law

While the artifact nature of law is not new, its recent development is not. Though the idea has been invoked more often, there is still a lack of thorough research on the topic. This paper presents a systematic approach to the artifact nature of law, and its appeal to philosophers of law. Here, I argue that “law” is an artifact, and that it is a ‘product’ of human efforts.


This article argues for a novel approach to the theory of legal fiction. Fictionalists reject the idea of literal truth, and seek to instead make their claims about legal and mathematical matters more abstract. They assert that legal arguments are based on the use of utterances which are only trivially true and do not have the authority of facts. They further claim that the law is a fiction, not a fact. In order to support their claims, fictionalists suggest re-introducing the commitment to mathematical objects, or ‘non-existent things’.

Coercive aspect of law

The idea of state has always been associated with the concept of coercive power and authority. It has also been associated with the distinction between sovereignty de jure and de facto, in which the sovereign state is based on its capacity to monopolize coercive power within its territory. Hence, political scientists should focus on the de facto aspects of sovereignty and the state in general, while remaining neutral in terms of the legal definition of the state.

Functions of law

Law serves several primary functions: preventing undesirable behaviour, securing desirable behaviour, regulating certain transactions, and creating regulatory frameworks. In addition, laws serve as a mechanism for regulating the behavior of agents of the state, ensuring that they behave within the law. They also protect the public from abuse of power, and regulate the functioning of law-applying organs. Below are some examples of common law functions:

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