University of Pennsylvania Journal of Law and Social Change

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This article develops and defends a general theory of supraorganic emergence of social reality which, as a base model, is also claimed to causally underpin all instances of sociolegal emergencenamely, the collectivist and wholistic organizational process of a given society that, over large, intergenerational timescales, produces sociolegal rules and practices in terms of legal-system social institutions on the one hand (for example, the first-tier legal recognition and organization of businesses as partnerships and corporations) and legal-system social laws on the other hand (for example, the second-tier legal recognition and organization of certain intra-business fiduciary duties among business owners and managers). The main work undertaken by the article is foundational: before we can know and understand more fully how law emerges, we require a much more in-depth and precise theoretical understanding of how overall social reality emerges and how the existents of social reality (including, inter alia, legal!J-recognized social rules and practices) come to exist. Even in the non-legal social sciences, socio-philosophical ontology is a much-neglected inquiry. In legal science, it is virtually non-existenta circumstance which has been a continual catastrophe for humankind over the last three hundred-plus years. If we accept that (a) law, generally speaking, should be a given society's primary tool to engineer and regulate social justice efter all else fails, and (b) there is never an "end of history" for the legal and non-legal social organization of human cooperation and welfare production, then a much deeper, more robust and coherent, and also more collectively examined and contested understanding of the social world is an absolute condition precedent for the success of any future positive socialcapital project aimed at improving the massive, manifold shortcomings of present-day social, including, sociolegal organization. In principle, humans can remedy by themselves all of the social ills that they produce. We are also entirely capable of remedying those ills without much, if any, additional naturalcapital support and resultant cost. However, we will never succeed in any of this while staying blineffolded. By engaging modern social ontology research-particularly, by Tony Lawson and the Cambridge Social Ontology Group-the article aims to radically rethink social emergence in supraorganic terms, and, as a consequence, also rejects the near-universal acceptance (and shared ontological prior) of methodological individualism in the social and sociolegal sciences.