Normative mind and mental content of rules


The paper endeavors to explain how a (legal) rule is obeyed and is meant to offer an explanation of the normative mind that complements the standard view based on the idea of content-independent reasons. More precisely the purpose of the paper to show that the ontological status of a legal rule depends upon the mental content generated by an individual confronted with such a rule, a mental content that is a personal rule. The paper after having clarified at section 1 a grammar of basic concepts such as normative mind, rule-following and personal rules, advances a subjective ontology of rules (section 2). The paper then discusses the content-independent and content-dependent reasons to follow the law (section 3) and develops an initial phenomenology of the mental content of personal rules (section 4). The paper goes on by canvassing a minimalist theory of the normative mind that encompasses legal, moral, social and practical rules (section 5) and discusses how personal rules occur in the legal, moral, social and practical domain (section 6). The paper concludes presenting five dimensions of a reconciliation of apparently opposite views of the interaction between law and morality (section 7).