Published online by Cambridge University Press: 04 June 2021
This chapter introduces a basic theoretical conception of law as an obliging force, which binds us together in governing communities, thereby enabling property of various types to exist. The chapter also sketches a stylized historical narrative, drawn from Max Weber's developmental sociology of law, about how intellectual property emerged, as a new type of legal property. The stylized narrative envisions three basic "layers" to the modern institution of intellectual property, which roughly correspond to three different paradigms for the obliging force of law: empirical formality, semantic formality, and substantive rationality. The historical development and weaving together of these three "layers" in the obliging force of law thus becomes an overarching narrative (or meta-narrative) for the book.