devaluing nómisma: an experiment in stateless law for the rule of law

September 15th, 2023


in a chaotic process witnessed by those who continue to live in the world, there are many people, beings, institutions and concepts that do not know exactly which direction to draw their path. in the background of this drift, there are the pandemic we have experienced recently and the benefits of the pandemic that have spread to our lives, but in addition to this, especially in recent years, with the development of technology, the borders and the understanding of property, which have been considered sacred for a long time, have been hit. as communication has reached a completely different dimension – although there are still physical borders to prevent the passage of people – it is not possible to prevent the sharing of ideas and values between people, and this reality shows that the accumulations established over many years such as tradition, culture and values are being shaken today.

a legal struggle that is both parallel to and intertwined with the above-mentioned ones also maintains its place in our lives at all times; however, the legal struggle mentioned here is defined not as the struggle of the individual to seek his/her rights, but as the positioning of law within the world order. it is very clear that this is a struggle. because questions such as how the law is positioned in the face of the state and the people who have the power that constitutes the state, how society reacts to the law, where the source of the law is, how legal texts update themselves in the face of time and development are both difficult and variable questions that are difficult to answer. recognizing the importance of geography in particular, there has been and continues to be a struggle over how to position the law vis-à-vis others in general.

with this struggle, as i and others who think like me would agree, the concept of the rule of law appears before our eyes and in connection with this, the principle of the rule of law comes to our minds. within the scope of this study, the concepts in question will not be analyzed in depth, but only what is understood by me when appropriate. what is essential in this study is to seek an answer to the question of whether an order without the state is possible in order to achieve the rule of law, and even to reveal a ground for discussion rather than finding a clear answer. we, who have made the institution and concept of the state the norm and have not deconstructed it in this order that has been going on for centuries, are struggling to achieve the rule of law within the existing conditions, but in no way we imagine a world without the state, or maybe in a lesser extent.

the only reason for saying “to a lesser extent” is that there are a number of works on the subject, both positive and negative. in addition, when we go back historically, when we go down to the philosophy of the subject, we come across ideas that are close to approximate. in the light of all this, in the remainder of the study, the cynicism in the historical background will be examined, then a small amount of discussion will be put forward through the existing works, and then my original thoughts on stateless law will be included. reminding that in order to be original, one must also have the ability to break boundaries, i would like to move on to our next topic by quoting diogenes: “when asked where he was from, he said, ‘i am a citizen of the world.’”[1]

the search for stateless law in cynicism

although i gave a ‘spoiler’ at the end of the previous chapter, we will also talk about antisthenes, who is considered by some to be the founder of this school, under the umbrella of cynicism. however, before coming to the ideas put forward by these two names, i think it is appropriate to make some explanations about the concept of “nómisma”, which i also used in the title.

a very simple internet search on nómisma will clearly bring up the concept of “money”. but as can be expected, it will not be enough to put an end to this issue with such a simple comparison of meanings. c. cengiz çevik, in his introduction at the beginning of his translation and compilation work “fragments of cynical philosophy”, provides a profound and comprehensible explanation. based on this, it is possible to summarize as follows:

diogenes lived in sinop, which is now in turkey but was a greek colony at the time, and is also known as diogenes of sinop in some narratives. his life in sinop ends with his exile for a crime for which there is no clear information about who committed it, and at this point, the crime of devaluing the money belonging to the state is mentioned. the word nómisma in parakharaksai to nómisma, which is translated as devaluing money, actually has two meanings. as mentioned before, in addition to the meaning of “money”, it also has the meaning of “anything in force, custom, established rules, institution”. since there are various doubts as to which meaning was used when looking at the narratives uncovered, it is also clear that a more accurate usage would be “devaluing nómisma”. çevik expresses this usage as follows:

“to devalue nómisma, in this context, is a metaphor for the application of cynicism to society, which means to go outside the circulation of traditional value judgments and to question and devalue traditional values.”

in the continuation of this definition, devaluing nómisma takes on an ironic meaning when we consider the world order we are in today. on the one hand, it is understood by me that the understanding of capitalism, which has now advanced to the most capillary, must be put to an end, and on the other hand, the understanding of the sacred state must be revisited by destroying the understandings that have been accepted as absolute truth for many years.

in addition, çevik also includes the views of leslie kurke[2] and dmitri nikulin[3] on this issue in their works.

first of all, kurke states that nómisma is a metaphorical concept used for the order in the greek city-state, and in essence, he emphasizes that the traditional ideas that this city-state stands on actually deviate from the laws of nature. the philosophical basis for this foundation can be provided by devaluing nómisma by stating that what is fundamental here is to act according to the laws of nature and not according to the opinion of the majority. in other words, what is desired is the questioning of the state’s policy over individuals through traditional ways and values, and ultimately the individual’s sovereignty by using his or her own reason, as dictated by the laws of nature.

nikulin, on the other hand, points out that, based on the meaning of the predicate in parakharaksai to nómismaparakharassein, as “to reprint”, the repetition here may be a kind of evaluation, and this evaluation may consist of the values in the traditional situation in question. the aim is to regain the political and moral values that have been forgotten and/or made to be forgotten by stereotyped policies in the light of natural criteria, and for this reason there is a state of repetition. this is because it is clear that the values in question are not to be created out of nothing, but are the very values that existed before but were somehow eliminated. nikulin also states that this transformation should be attempted even if it is thought that it will not lead to anything, encouraging efforts to be made with the slightest hope of solving the impasse of the current situation.

as a result of all this, the concept of nómisma, which is also used in the title of the study, has the following importance for today: in a world order where capitalism is advancing to the finest veins, it is necessary to rethink money in connection with capitalism, as well as the artificial values that have been going on for years but cannot keep up with the changing conditions, and most importantly, which are imposed and characterized through tradition, as opposed to the pure values that exist in essence. in these two senses, devaluing nómisma would indeed pave the way for a return to pure essence. however, since it would be incomplete to talk only about nómisma in relation to cynicism, it would be correct to make some inferences with the discourses in various dialogues.

“after becoming a student of socrates, antisthenes lived like a cynic,
plato founded the academy.”
 clement alexandrinus, stromata, 1.62.4.[4]

the relationship between antisthenes, who is characterized as the founder of cynicism, and socrates is reflected in many sources. basically, it is stated that antisthenes was his student and it is also emphasized that he was with him until his last moment. in addition, plato, who has a great deal of influence on both the ancient works that have survived to the present day and the works created today and the thoughts that emerge in connection with them, is also connected to socrates through the bond of discipleship. as can be seen in the above quotation, the dichotomy is not hidden and the conflict between plato and antisthenes is reflected in other works.[5] in a way, the platonic branch, which forms the basis of today’s ideas about the order of the state, is in conflict with the branch of antisthenes, which is very different from it, and from this it is concluded by me that the ideas that will oppose the existing order can be sought in cynicism.

“because in some aspects it [cynicism] seems to be a very natural and universal
philosophy that does not require special study.” julianus, orationes, 6.187c-d.[6]

as stated in the quote above, cynicism is actually in pursuit of what is natural by going back to the basics and striving for what is universal, that is, not only for a segment or a group, but for all humanity. there is no doubt that what people who have become rulers and/or decision-makers or, in other words, legislators in the historical process have come up with both by themselves and the human communities they have formed depends on the conditions of that period, the situation of the relevant geography and even the available knowledge. this dependence inevitably leads to an artificial and limited understanding. when we look at the present day, it would be wrong to say that even human rights, which are considered to be the most universal, are universal in terms of inclusiveness, and in addition, universality cannot be mentioned in the case of the reflection of the theory of human rights in practice. in the light of all this, cynicism clearly pursues the natural, the pure and the truly universal.

“antisthenes: i know some tyrants who are so fond of money that they commit crimes
more horrible than the poorest. (…) on the other hand, some tyrants
destroy entire families, commit mass murders, and
enslave entire cities, mostly for money.” xenophon, symposium, 4.34-44.[7]

antisthenes drew a picture of today many years ago. the point expressed as the fondness for money cannot prevent us from making a connection with capitalism today, and ultimately, the courage to perform all kinds of actions in order to obtain money leads to the trampling of the law today, among other things. the establishment of such a hierarchy among the equal individuals that make up society implicitly recreates the regime of slavery, and the saddest thing is that the architects of this are not only those who own capital but also the state institutions that benefit from it. in this case, it can be concluded that the state, by realizing this tyranny, does not refrain from openly oppressing its people, from whom it derives authority, either physically, economically or in other ways.

“perhaps such a person is like a god among men. what is understood here is that
legislation inevitably concerns those who are equal in birth and ability;
there is no law over these <superior and unequal> people.
for they themselves are the law. surely anyone who would attempt
to legislate for them would be ridiculed.” aristoteles, politica, 3.13 1284a10-17.[8]

from whom and for what purpose the state derives its authority, and more importantly, the limits within which it can act with this authority constitute the content of the rule of law principle. from a different perspective, the law, which acts as a framework in a way, turns into something created by the people we want to remain within this framework. in other words, those who must act in accordance with the law are also the ones who create the law to be obeyed. this inextricable cycle inevitably requires us to think about what the law is, and in essence, the source of law lies in the people who give the state the authority. since these people are composed of different races, colors, religions, genders and other similar reasons, it would be “ridiculous”, as aristotle put it. in fact, this is the point that the state has reached today by expanding and/or exceeding its authority.

“from antisthenes: states fall when those in power cannot distinguish
bad people from good people.” pseudo-maximus confessor, 9.76.[9]

again, when we look at antisthenes’ statement, we come across the distinction between bad and good, but in my opinion, the issue of what these relative concepts and the content of these concepts are makes the situation complicated. although good is considered to be a high point that is desired and attained, it is possible for a situation or a person who is actually bad to become good when viewed from the point of view of self-interest. the idea that states will face collapse if they cannot distinguish between bad and good is in the mixing of them, that is, in the characterization of bad as good for the benefit of the state. however, it should not be forgotten that those who are ignored for the sake of interests can take back the authority granted within this framework in a place where the law is supreme, but in a place where the law is trampled on, this authority is somehow lost when it becomes unable to feed the bad.

“diogenes asked plato if he had written the book of laws, and he said, “yes.”
diogenes asked, “how strange, didn’t you write the book of the state [republic]?”
when plato replied, “i did,” diogenes asked, “but didn’t you have laws in your state?”
plato replied, “of course there were,” whereupon diogenes asked,
“then why did you feel the need to write the laws again?” stobaeus, anthologium, 3.13.45.[10]

diogenes, a student of antisthenes, also gives us some information about the existence of the state and leads us to make inquiries. when we look at the dialogue between plato and diogenes, the law, or in a broader term, the criticism of the law, which is related to the state, is put forward, and it is revealed that the state cannot be thought independently of the law. law is an indispensable factor for the existence of the state, and conversely, i question whether the state is necessary for the existence of law. as a result of a rough interrogation, it is undoubtedly concluded that law is indispensable whether there is a state or not, that law draws a framework for the state in the presence of the state, and that law will continue to exist in the absence of the state.

“when asked where he was from, he said, “i am a citizen of the world.”
diogenes laertius, 6.63.[11]

diogenes manages to transcend not only the local values and formations represented by the state, but also the boundaries it draws in concrete and abstract terms. world citizenship has recently emerged for other reasons as well, and at this point, it is most striking how people with very different backgrounds and existences are affected by each other as a result of the development of technology and the power of communication. it is clearly seen how things like technology, communication and social media, which have been included in our lives in a way that triggers each other, can easily remove the borders in question, and the borders that were created years ago for the sake of existing and protecting their property are being demolished, erased and ignored day by day. such an awakening inevitably affects the existence of states hiding behind borders, and the existence of the state is questioned in the minds of people who experience these situations. the fact that the individuals who have the real say are skeptical of any organization that makes decisions on their behalf revives the idea of being a citizen of the world rather than a citizen of any state.

“when he saw that the megarians had built large city walls, he cried out:
“you wretches, worry not about the size of your walls,
but about the people who will stand on them!”” stobaeus, anthologium, 3.7.46.[12]

however, this awakening of the people is not desired by those who benefit from the existence of the state in a thousand ways and causes the borders in question to be built even higher than before in order to prevent it. especially the migrant mobility we have had to experience in recent years and the policies created in connection with it stand before us as an example of how these borders have been raised. those who have sworn an oath for the continuation of the existence of states before the lives of human beings, condone, allow and even carry out cruel acts with their consciences blunted. the artificial intelligence-supported, sound-bombed border protection devices placed on the greek-turkish border, which we have seen in the news, show us without any question that human rights, which are shouted to be universal, are not universal at all. states that have come to such a point, those that legitimize violence, which should have the obligation to keep people alive, have already lost their raison d’être.

“diogenes said: “demosthenes, are you not ashamed to enter the tavern?”
then, referring to the people and individual citizens, he added,
“your masters come here every day.” he obviously meant to show that politicians

and orators are the servants of the people.” aelianus, historical miscellany, 9.19.[13]

those who act for the sake of harming people, those who are in positions of authority granted by individuals, become unable to know the limits of their actions due to the power intoxication they have suffered. however, it should be reminded that it is the authority given by individuals that constitutes the state, and the authority of the persons in charge can be taken away by individuals within the framework of the law. it should not be forgotten that all kinds of people in the political mechanism aspire to such a task in order to serve the individuals who make up the society, and if this is forgotten, it should be realized that the existence of them is not necessary at all. to put it very simply, when an employee does not fulfill a job that is included in the job description that the employer wants him to perform, it is obvious that the employer does not need the employee in question. similarly, there is no justification for the continued existence of those who do not fulfill their duty of service as authorized by individuals.

“when he was asked how a man who had come into office
should deal with the people’s problems,
he said, “as one approaches a fire: “let him not come so near that he is burned,
and let him not go so far away that he is cold.”” pseudo-maximus confessor, 9.26.[14]

for those who fulfill this duty assigned by individuals, the law always provides guidance and sets its limits. the principle of the rule of law also comes to the fore at this point, and duties that are not performed in accordance with the law do not serve the individuals in question.

it is possible to see from the above lines that it is not at all difficult to reconcile the thoughts of both antisthenes and diogenes under the umbrella of cynicism with what we have experienced in the recent past and today. indeed, at a point where tens or hundreds of questions can be asked such as why the state exists, whether the existence of the state in our time is more harm than good, what kind of life awaits us if there is no state, whether the state phenomenon that has been imposed on us for centuries should not be deconstructed, it would be right to take a few opinions not from ancient greece but from contemporary works.

the discussion of stateless law in recent studies

in this part of the study, jonathan crowe, an australian academic in the field of philosophy and sociology of law, who created the study on stateless law by breaking away from the european ideas that are stuck and have difficulty in going beyond the framework, and cemal bali akal and oktay uygun, who i can characterize as academics from turkey who immediately come to mind when it comes to the theory of the state, will be discussed in their writings on stateless law. following a chronological order, the studies of crowe will be analyzed first, followed by the studies of akal and uygun.

at the beginning of his study, crowe mentions that the stateless law approach actually offers us a critical framework for the limitation of state-centered legal institutions that we have already experienced. indeed, the stateless law approach has a constructive side in terms of the functioning of the aforementioned institutions that we have normalized and observed from the very beginning within the state mechanism. although the disappearance of the state mechanism may seem like a utopian process, it is clear that such a perspective is necessary to at least identify the limits of these institutions.

these institutions and ultimately the state mechanism itself, like society, are in a relationship with and affected by a set of legal rules. crowe gives two types of definitions, giving the possibility of the emergence of legal rules from the bottom up or from the top down. accordingly, law is “a set of rules enacted by socially recognized authorities, such as legislators and courts” or “a set of rules that have evolved over time to enable members of society to coexist and pursue their individual ends”.[15] in general, when we look at the present day, the definition of law seems to be much more related to the first of the definitions given above, and the lives of those in society are shaped as a result of what legislators and courts create. however, it would also be appropriate to question that the most important legal rules come from the foundation, that is, from the past, values, etc. of the individuals who make up the society.

anarchism is one of the first ideologies that comes to mind when it comes to stateless law. although this study will not provide general information about anarchism, it is useful to mention a few points. people have a general concern that chaos will arise where there is no state, and anarchists state that as a result of this situation, the state is seen as much more important than it should be, and on the contrary, other sources that create order are ignored. when we look at the duties of the state, we see items such as preventing chaos, ensuring equality, ending poverty, and ensuring access to health and education services; however, when we turn to reality, it is clear that the state fails to fulfill these duties.[16]

in addition to the formation of legal rules, it is also noteworthy where law derives its power from. hart, as is well known, states that law derives its force not from the threat of punishment but from a sense of obligation, and similarly, as austin states, it is known that we do not obey the law out of obligation. the obligation to obey the law arises in connection with a felt sense of social obligation. in addition, “the most important factor in obedience to law is not the harshness of the sanctions attached to disobedience, but rather the stability of the associated social norms”.[17]

after the issue of what the legal rules are and obedience to the law, crowe states in his work that in the case of a stateless law approach, there will be the absence of centralized legal institutions maintained by the state, but as an alternative to this, consensual security and legal institutions will emerge. in such a case, the emergence of more than one consensual structure, and hence multiplicity, would be on the agenda. according to crowe, there is no clear environment that this new structuring will create a monopoly, especially in the case of meeting the costs required to meet the infrastructure services. again, referring to hayek on the problem of the emergence of different rules that may arise from this multiplicity, it is emphasized that it is possible that inefficient or unfair legal rules may be changed or abandoned due to competition between institutions and societies based on being efficient and fair.[18]

in addition to the increase in the number of legal institutions, it is also stated that there is a possibility that some of the individuals may agree with another service provider in case they do not want to benefit from the service in question regarding alternative security services that will replace law enforcement. it is also stated that if there is a situation such as the absence of another service provider, service providers may be pushed in a direction that they will develop and change themselves by taking into account the demands from individuals in order to meet the expectations of individuals.[19]

crowe concludes his study as follows: “would a stateless society produce a better model of law than we currently enjoy under the state? it’s hard to be sure. however, the possibility is not as outlandish as many people initially think. there is value in thinking through the possibilities and challenges presented by law in a stateless society – if nothing else, such an exercise can help us understand the failures of state law and think creatively about alternatives. we shouldn’t simply assume that our current top-down model of law is the only way. a more organic approach to legal rules and institutions might not be a bad thing”.[20]

♦ ♦ ♦

in the section of his book titled “law with/without the state”, akal makes a definition of law with the state that is used in legal education without taking into account the period before and after modernity: “law is a set of rules that are sanctioned within sociality, dependent on the functioning of the institutions of a state and determining the relations between the citizens who constitute it.”[21] even if the connection between the state and the law is established with different approaches in different periods, when we go back in history, the romans’ discourse of ubi societas ibi jus, that is, where there is society, there is legality, remains in mind.[22] although different approaches constantly emphasize the establishment of a relationship with the state while both searching for the source of law and trying to find answers to what law is, the existence of law from society should not be ignored.

engels also draws akal’s attention with his ideas on the concept of class and morgan’s scientific research, which he takes as a source. engels’ argument that the phenomenon of the state emerged with the transition from classless society to class society, that there was no law in the initial society, and that there was a hope for the disappearance of law in the future is obvious. however, according to akal, there is a problem with the determination that the initial society is lawless and the use of the concept of state used by morgan in his research for all political entities. accordingly, if the relationship between ruler and ruled in the initial society, which is expressed as lawless, is identified, the concept of state used in a broad sense will also affect this process and the name of the history of sociality will be the history of the state.[23]

however, even when a very simple research is done, it is seen that there are various types of societies that are different from each other or similar in some points within the history of sociality, and it is the right thing to remember the history of sociality not in a state-oriented way, but in a legal way, and the state to take a place within this legality. in this way, by distinguishing the state from other types of society, it will be possible to resolve the law-state relationship, and in this way, it will be seen that legality is still alive in a place where there is no state.[24]

towards the end of the chapter, akal makes the following observation: “there is no difference between the broad definition of the state and the exclusion of early society from law and politics, or between the narrow definition of the state and the exclusion of pre-state society from law and politics. the exclusion of a significant part of humanity from law by defining law in terms of the state is not a satisfactory argument for jurists, nor is it convincing, because it is based on the very short existence of law in the history of sociality.”[25] in the continuation of this determination, it is possible to say that humanity, which has clearly experienced processes in which law existed but the state did not, can again, again and again exist with a stateless law approach. associating the place of law with the state in human history is only a surprising claim.

♦ ♦ ♦

finally, when we look at the points that uygun touches upon in his study, it is seen that he touches upon the approaches based on marxism and anarchism as the main headings. as aral emphasized above in line with engels’ definition, uygun also touches upon the history of the state and states that the existence of law in pre-state societies was determined as a result of different theories and that law existed before the formation of the state in the light of the views that claim that law emerged outside the will of the state.[26]

within the framework of the study, when we pay attention to the sections of uygun’s study on anarchism, the basic view that it is not possible to construct the individual independently of society according to this ideology draws attention. the state of being related to the society between individuals, with or without a state, is fed by the interactions among themselves and practices such as cooperation and collaboration emerge. hierarchy, coercion and oppression mechanisms do not take place within this process, which is considered to be natural, and the processes in which these are experienced are seen as some deviations in human history.[27]

in anarchist societies, styles, forms and rules that are somehow imposed from outside are not accepted and, if necessary, the rules of law are included in this. although it is accepted that individuals have a say in the creation of the rules that will be applied to them as a result of democracy at the points where the state phenomenon exists, there is always a group that is excluded since the opinion of the majority is followed in decision-making processes. in other words, according to anarchism, democracy is insufficient to bring about what is demanded, and again, according to anarchism, in order for individuals to be free, it is only accepted to obey the laws created by individuals.[28]

unlike other ideologies, this view of anarchism states that the rules imposed on us from outside are not useful, necessary and inevitable, and that individuals need to get rid of these rules in order to be liberated. in the case of such freedom from rules, contrary to what is claimed, a chaos environment will not arise, on the contrary, individuals will return to their natural state. of course, in this case, contracts between individuals will be brought to the agenda in determining the common rules, not a process such as no rules or as many rules as individuals. individuals and/or the groups they form will be able to form contracts entirely with their own demands and will, or they may not be a party to any contract. the establishment of such collaborations, especially in areas such as education, security, services, etc., will be possible through contracts.[29]

when it comes to contract, the social contract, which is shown as the basis of the state phenomenon, comes to mind and uygun quotes henri arvon’s following words on this subject: “anarchism is based not on a single contract, which, as an act of fate, distorts the complexity and versatility of social life, but on an unlimited number of contracts that best correspond to the thousand and one needs of the individual.” likewise, ayferi göze shares the following output about the contract: “rejecting the state, which they see as an instrument of oppression and coercion over people, anarchists consider the principle of contract as the basis of all human relations.” as a result, uygun states that voluntary contracts between individuals, although different from the rules of law, give rise to a legal relationship as a result of the fact that contracts take place instead of the rules that are abolished according to the ideology of anarchism, and accordingly, it can be said that within the scope of this ideology, law does not disappear and a kind of stateless law is shaped.[30]

observations on stateless law

in addition to philosophical and ideological thoughts, the stateless law approach, which has been discussed, thought and written about directly or indirectly in a number of works in the literature, actually manifests itself somehow in some practices today. in this section, we will touch upon some points that are not particularly foreign to us and try to share a perspective on the possibility of stateless law.

first of all, there are alternative dispute resolution methods that have entered our lives alongside the judicial system, which is very much linked to the state mechanism. conciliation, arbitration and mediation, which are actively practiced in turkey, are actually methods that can be implemented as a result of contracts between individuals by getting rid of state pressure and regulation. it is also necessary for us to look at what they are and how their purposes are determined in the current literature.

for conciliation, it is possible to list qualities such as the fact that both the victim and the perpetrator are active actors in the dispute resolution process, that it reduces the intensity on the courts, that it accelerates the resolution process, and that it is economically less costly.[31] the main purpose of conciliation is related to the provision of restorative justice in general in terms of compensating the victim.[32] although the types of crimes and situations in which conciliation is currently applicable differ, it is also possible that individuals do not prefer conciliation. however, when we look at the idea in the background, it can be seen that a ground is prepared for the resolution of the dispute between individuals.

in the case of arbitration, it occurs on the basis of individuals applying to an arbitral tribunal to resolve disputes between themselves, which we have seen traces of since roman law.[33] unlike conciliation and mediation, which will be mentioned in a moment, the positioning of individuals who can have a say in this matter as arbitrators in order for individuals to agree among themselves in the arbitration method, although it may seem like a simulation of the existing court system, it is also experienced that the state has moved away from the state’s coercion in terms of the freedom of choice of individuals over the arbitrators.[34]

similar to conciliation, when we look at the mediation institution, there is an element of voluntariness in the dispute resolution method, individuals participate in this process with their own will and there is no coercion for the realization of the solution.[35] considering the reasons why mediation is also preferred, saving time, saving costs, win-win relationship, flexible process under the control of the parties, etc. are counted.[36] in the light of all these, it would not be wrong to say that it is a method other than state coercion as a result of the previously mentioned interpersonal agreements.

apart from alternative dispute resolution methods, another area of law that can be shown outside the will of the state is international law. in addition to the fact that states are actors with their legal personality, it is actually experienced that the states in question tend to recognize supra-state structures with the conventions they are party to. of course, it is not possible to describe a field such as international law in such a general definition, but when approached from the mentioned perspective, it is seen that the subjects have reached an order far from the alleged chaos with their actions. it is known that international law can solve many problems that may arise thanks to its structure based on conventions and customs, and there are also positive examples in the world in terms of agreements between federal states.[37]

another noteworthy observation is the legal aid process in practice in order to establish a balance in order to ensure access to justice. in the case of a stateless law approach, there is a possibility that inequality may arise due to the economic situation within the dispute resolution system that will be realized as a result of contracts between individuals with the liberation of the judicial system from state patronage. this possibility is also evident in the current judicial system. for this reason, legal aid, which is an effective way to eliminate inequalities, can also be given as an example as an indicator of solidarity between individuals. the probono process, which is not fully implemented in turkey, serves approximately the same purpose. the efforts of experts in the field of judiciary to ensure justice through solidarity with individuals can also take place outside the state.[38]


to summarize where we have come so far, first of all, it is obvious that we can see traces of the stateless law approach in philosophical debates and current literature as well as in existing practices. the problematic form of the state, which humanity has accepted as the right one for a long time, is also known. the positioning of the state in the face of the law has also been showing itself negatively in different geographies of the world, especially in the recent period, and it is known how the principle of the rule of law has been trampled upon as a result of these negativities, and we do not need to go very far to see these.

it is also a bitter reality how the fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals have been ignored during the time the state phenomenon has existed, what actions have been taken outside the powers granted to those who constitute the state phenomenon by ignoring what should be in accordance with the principle of the rule of law, and how political powers, which should serve individuals, which should accept protecting the interests of individuals as the main purpose, have deviated from their path.

as such, with the efforts to restore the rule of law proving ineffective, this process inevitably raises the possibility of resorting to a radical approach such as the abolition of the state. it is clear that this possibility is radical, and it is also clear how utopian it is to deconstruct a state that has been accepted and practiced for a very long time. nevertheless, it is very valuable to talk about it and discuss its possibilities in the search for solutions.

for all these reasons, it is not realistic at this stage to offer a complete solution to the problems that may arise in the stateless society that will occur in the event of a stateless law approach. however, at least with the preparation of this discussion ground, solutions to the problems in question will of course be produced, which has already happened in the arena of history in the same way. the methods that we now normalize and apply today have not been presented to us in a perfect way since the very beginning of human history, and it is known that these methods are still open to change.

finally, it is worth repeating that such a radical approach should at least be discussed and debated in order to achieve our ultimate goal of the rule of law, and this will never lose its importance.


akal, cemal baki. “hukuk nedir?”, ikinci basım, zoe yayıncılık, 2019. (in turkish)

antisthenesdiogenes. “kinik felsefe fragmanları”, (trans. c. cengiz çevik), türkiye iş bankası kültür yayınları, 2020. (in turkish)

crowe, jonathan. “law without the state”, policy, 30/2, university of queensland tc beirne school of law research paper, 2014, p.7-11.

çakin, akın. “adalete erişim”, seçkin yayıncılık, 2016. (in turkish)

erdem, mustafa ruhan, eser, ferda, özşahinli, pakize pelin. “100 soruda uzlaştırma-uzlaştırmacının el kitabı”, güncellenmiş üçüncü basım, seçkin yayıncılık, 2017. (in turkish)

uygun, oktay. “devletsiz toplumda hukukun niteliği ve işlevi”, yeditepe üniversitesi hukuk fakültesi dergisi, 14/2, istanbul, 2017, s.397-410. (in turkish)

yildirim, ferhat. “arabuluculuk ve ombudsmanlık”, seçkin yayıncılık, 2019. (in turkish)

[1] antisthenes, diogenes. p.vii.

[2] kurke, leslie. “coins, bodies, games, and gold: the politics of meaning in archaic greece”, princeton university press, 1999.

[3] nıkulın, dmitri. “diogenes the comic, or how to tell the truth in the face of a tyrant”, philosophy and political power in antiquity (ed. cinzia aruzza-dmitri nıkulın), brill, 2016.

[4] antisthenes, diogenes. p.7.

[5] antisthenes, diogenes. p.11.

[6] antisthenes, diogenes. p.21.

[7] antisthenes, diogenes. p.23.

[8] antisthenes, diogenes. p.34.

[9] antisthenes, diogenes. p.36.

[10] antisthenes, diogenes. p.62.

[11] antisthenes, diogenes. p.124.

[12] antisthenes, diogenes. p.125.

[13] antisthenes, diogenes. p.132.

[14] antisthenes, diogenes. p.133.

[15] crowe, p.7.

[16] crowe, p.8.

[17] crowe, p.9.

[18] crowe, p.9-10.

[19] crowe, p.10.

[20] crowe, p.11.

[21] akal, p.196.

[22] akal, p.197.

[23] akal, p.197-198.

[24] akal, p.198.

[25] akal, p.202.

[26] uygun, p.397.

[27] uygun, p.401.

[28] uygun, p.401-402.

[29] uygun, p.407.

[30] uygun, p.408.

[31] erdem et al., p.21.

[32] erdem et al., p.22.

[33] yıldırım, p.36.

[34] yıldırım, p.38.

[35] yıldırım, p.43.

[36] yıldırım, p.62-67.

[37] crowe, p.9.

[38] crowe, p.10. çakın, p.199.

alicio erdogan