Grounding-based formulations of legal positivism

  • Samuele ChiloviEmail author


The goal of this paper is to provide an accurate grounding-based formulation of positivism in the philosophy of law. I start off by discussing some simple formulations, based on the ideas that social facts are always either full or partial grounds of legal facts. I then raise a number of objections against these definitions: the full grounding proposal rules out possibilities that are compatible with positivism; the partial grounding proposal fails, on its own, to vindicate the distinctive role that is played by social facts within positivist accounts of law. Then, I present a more adequate and insightful formulation capable of solving their problems, which crucially relies on a robust notion of a social enabler. Finally, I model inclusive and exclusive positivism on the resulting template, and set out the advantages of the ground-enablers proposal.


Grounding Dependence Fundamentality Enablers Legal positivism Nature of law 



Many thanks to Gloria Andrada, Juan Carlos Bayón, Fernando Broncano-Berrocal, Pedro Caballero, Jorge Cerdio, Fernando De los Santos Menéndez, Javier Gonzalez de Prado, Roberto Loss, Ezequiel Monti, Michele Palmira, George Pavlakos, Pablo Rapetti, Luis Rodríguez Abascal, Alfonso Ruiz Miguel, Julián Sauquillo González, Germán Sucar, Enrico Terrone, Jesus Vega, Lisa Vogt, and Daniel Wodak; to the participants to the Seminar in Metaphysics at the University of Barcelona; to the audiences of the Legal Philosophy Seminar at ITAM, of the Legal Philosophy Seminar at UAM, of the Applied Epistemology Seminar at UAM, and of the Law and Philosophy PhD Seminar at UPF. Special thanks are due to Esa Díaz-Leon, Stephan Leuenberger, Dan López de Sa, José Juan Moreso, David Plunkett, Jonathan Schaffer, and two anonymous reviewers. This research was financially supported by the UPF-based research group Law and Philosophy (Grup consolidat de Filosofia del Dret, Projectes AGAUR 2017 SGR 00823), and by the research project Social Metaphysics (PGC2018-094563-B-I00, MINECO FEDER).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Law DepartmentPompeu Fabra UniversityBarcelonaSpain

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