Grounding in Law

Royal Society of Edinburgh Workshop Grant

PIs: Stephan Leuenberger (Philosophy), George Pavlakos (Law)

March 2019 – March 2020

We commonly take it for granted that there are such legal facts: that a certain contract is valid, or that a certain action constitutes a crime. But in jurisprudence and philosophy of law, their status has long been a matter of debate. They are certainly not fundamental facts, but rather derivative from facts of other kinds. But which other facts, and how? Our project will investigate this question, by drawing on the resources of contemporary metaphysics – specifically, the concept of “grounding”. That concept has recently been used to articulate a structured view of reality, according to which facts and entities of different levels are linked across different levels. The concept seems tailor-made to be of use in philosophy of law. But while such an application has been suggested in the literature, nobody has developed this idea yet – and this is what we propose to do in this project.

Workshop I

Workshop II

Workshop III