Law as multidimensional phenomena [Post 14]

Ontic and components in human behavior

Like any science, the science of law studies an object. Therefore, the first philosophical presupposition that needs to be assessed is that of law as an object.

From the previous posts in this series it should be evident that to the question “what is law?” there are several answers. According to the jurist’s philosophical presupposition of what the law is, the relevant understanding will characterize law in a particular fashion. Consequently, if a jurist understands law as purely ideal (e.g. a norm) he will characterize the legal system accordingly. In a similar vein, if another jurist understands law as purely factual (e.g. acts or omissions) he will characterize the legal system differently. Depending on the object of study, whether ideal or real, and the consequent characteristics, the methodology to assess them will undoubtedly vary.

Assuming that law is a cultural object (see previous posts in this series for an understanding of different objects, including cultural), law has a substrate or material and a meaning or sense. The dialectical knowledge and double intuition (through our senses to apprehend its materiality and through axiology to apprehend its meaning) are characteristic in law.

For this kind of view (law as a cultural object) law is apprehended through human behavior or conduct. In that sense, human actions and omissions are part of the overall behavior or conduct. Conversely, human behavior or conduct are integrated by a succession of actions and omissions in time and space.

Ontically, human conduct has two components: one physical, the activity in time and space performed by our body; another, psychological, as a choice of will, that includes the emotional and intellectual contents in our conscience. These two components are not in a relationship of succession (one after the other) but of “compenetration.”

Consequently, we have the “self” doing and his action or omission (“X being done”) as well as the product of his action or omission “X done”). Therein, there is a difference between the axiological value of “X done” and the action or omission that produced “X.” For example, in the case of a chair it may be argued that the chair is useful or not, comfortable or not, etc. Differently, the acts of the “chair maker” may be just or unjust in the case he fulfilled or did not fulfill the contract by which he was obliged to make that piece of furniture in exchange of money.

Before we discuss law and ontology, it is important to distinguish ontical and ontological:

“the ontical and the ontological, where the former is concerned with facts about entities and the latter is concerned with the meaning of Being, with how entities are intelligible as entities.”[1] 

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Ontology and law.

Author of:

Territorial Disputes and State Sovereignty. International Law and Politics (London and New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, 2020).

Sovereignty Conflicts and International Law and Politics: A Distributive Justice Issue (London and New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, 2017).

Tuesday 25th May 2021

Dr Jorge Emilio Núñez

Twitter: @DrJorge_World

[1] Michael Wheeler, “Martin Heidegger,” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy available at accessed 25/05/2021/

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