The author of this essay critically reflects on À quoi sert le droit? Usages, Fonctions, Finalités by François Ost, appeared in 2016. In his ponderous work, the Belgian theorist puts forward the old and constantly reappearing question about the eminent role of law. This question has become even more urgent in our days’ scenario, in which law seems to suffer of a deep crisis and to fade into a sea of "indistinct normativity". Through a detailed interdisciplinary analysis of the uses, technical functions and fundamental ends of law, Ost sheds light on the proprium of the legal phenomenon, portrayed as a second degree institution, based on authoritative legitimation and formalized knowledge, vis-à-vis the most basic and original social institutions.
Keywords: François Ost - Law’s uses - Law’s functions - Law’s ends - Double institutionalization