Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy

Regulative rules regulate preexisting forms of behavior, constitutive rules make possible new forms of behavior. They constitute the phenomena they regulate. Brute facts can exist independently of any institutions. Institutional facts require pre-existing institutions, which consist of systems of constitutive rules. Constitutive rules create new forms of reality, with new powers, they typically require language, and they are the basis of human civilization.


There is an intuitive distinction between two kinds of rules: those that regulate antecedently existing behaviors and those that constitute new forms of behavior and thus regulate the very behavior that they constitute. It is natural to think of these types of rules as regulative and constitutive. I think that terminology which I first introduced in the 1950s is useful and I believe it has stuck.


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