Are general inflexible rules stable? An examination of David Hume's jurisprudence

Mario J. Rizzo

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The purpose of this article is to answer the question: If David Hume is correct about the nature and origin of justice, would a social convention of justice, once established, be stable? The first part discusses Hume's conception of justice as an artificial virtue as well as its antagonist propensities in human nature. The second part analyzes Humean justice as jurisprudence. To gain further perspective, Hume's ideas are situated in their historical Roman and Scottish contexts. Finally, the forces creating instability in the legal framework are analyzed. The answer to the posed question is that the social convention of justice is endogenously unstable.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)29-38
    Number of pages10
    JournalJournal of Economic Behavior and Organization
    StatePublished - Feb 2021


    • Generality
    • Hume
    • Justice
    • Rules
    • Stability

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Economics and Econometrics
    • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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