Readings on Legal Positivism

1. "It is arguable, however, that law's functions in our culture are more closely related to its coercive aspect than Hart seems to have assumed. Contemporary use of ‘game theory’ in the law tends to show that the rationale of a great variety of legal arrangements can be best explained by the function of law in solving problems of opportunism, like the so called Prisoner's Dilemma situations. In these cases, the law's main role is, indeed, one of providing coercive measures. Be this as it may, we should probably refrain from endorsing Austin's or Kelsen's position that providing sanctions is law's only function in society. Solving recurrent and multiple coordination problems, setting standards for desirable behavior, proclaiming symbolic expressions of communal values, resolving disputes about facts, and such, are important functions which the law serves in our society, and those have very little to do with law's coercive aspect and its sanction-providing functions." - The Nature of Law from
Written on February 10, 2010