Unit 4: The Cognitive Structure of Legal Concepts

This bibliography is an introduction to the structure of legal concepts. It is meant to compare traditional approaches to legal conceptual analysis with contemporary scientific views on the study of concepts, with a special focus on embodied and grounded perspectives. It is divided into three sections. The first section provides an overview on the main theories of concepts. The 1999 and 2015 anthologies by Laurence and Margolis, together with Murphy and Hoffman’s chapter on the Cambridge Handbook of Cognitive Science offer an overview on the most important perspectives ranging from psychology to philosophy and linguistics. The others items of the first sections are more advanced: they are particularly interesting for whoever wants to explore embodied and grounded cognition, with a particular focus on metaphors and abstract concepts. Fodor’s seminal book on the language of thought was included to provide a reader with an alternative critical perspective. The second section contains important works on legal conceptualisation mainly by legal philosophers, offering various competing perspectives on the topic: Ross’s reductionist approach, Hart’s pragmatic approach, Dworkin’s hermeneutical approach, as well as three works on metaphors in law. The third section features works containing analyses of specific legal concepts, from important contemporary legal theorists, with a special focus on legal positivism, legal realism and legal institutionalism. So while the second section explains different theories that legal philosophers have developed on the concept of concept, the third provides paradigmatic examples of conceptual analysis applied to specific legal notions such as norm, validity, right, duty etc.

The Nature of Concepts

The Structure of Legal Concepts

Basic Concepts in Law