THE SOCIOLOGY OF LAW

Let us return now to our sociological view. The normative structure of a society is hierarchical; the four levels as we have abstracted them are roles, laws, precedence, and principles. Each level constrains the freedom of the level below in order to maintain its own stability. At the same time each emerges from the activities of the level below. Unlike structures below that of the social, each level consists entirely of the actions of people and the reasons people accept for those actions. They all exist in the Inner worlds that members of the society create out of their interaction with their environment. The system of laws chooses for members of the society which of all of the possible norms that could be used will apply to their normative interaction with each other. They are counter factually stabilized because there no objective criteria exists to demarcate why one set of norms should be selected rather than another that does not originate within the minds of the citizens.

The rules for the enactment and modification of laws are part of the system, thus, they tend to reflect the way members of the society view their norms. However, societies are not homogeneous; there are differing ways that Individuals interpret laws. Of course it is fortunate that this is so because otherwise in the case of an unexpected change in the kinds of problems that the individuals sense from their environment there might not be included in the variety of approaches available within the system one which would be successful in the changed environment. The system of laws exists at the interface between two different kinds of networks. The first is the serial network of individual normative disappointments. The second is a parallel neural network of congruency communications. Communications media exists wherever the manner of one partners selection serves simultaneously as the motivating structure for another. Stability is achieved when the norms communicated by the media result in input levels which exceed the threshold levels which define the norms that individuals have developed through serial interaction.

This paper Is not meant to be a treatise on a sense of justice, but a few characteristics of such a society will suffice to show that it does not have to be the only possible social arrangement. In the first place Dworkin stated that the best environment for his two principles is a majoritarian society. In such a society there need not be a sense of Justice, but, as William Nelson would concur, there is more likely to be one than in a society that is not. However, that is an act of faith. A sense of Justice is an inner conviction that exists in the mental world of the individuals in the society and not in the set of rules for deciding Issues.

On the other hand, in a society which lacks a sense of Justice that mirrors that of Dworkin, some other set of principles would be chosen by members of the society which would express their inner convictions. For example the minority governments of Ireland, Lebanon, and South Africa display a sense of Justice which assumes a class of inferior citizens. As a result the countries are constantly In turmoil. In the case of America except for the poor, or in England except in the case of Irish Catholics, Dworkin's two principles of Justice do apply. And, to the extent that they do, there is stability in these societies.

bulletConclusion 
bulletReturn to Table of Contents