The Jurisprudence Annual Lecture 2010 Freedom, Coercion, Necessary Goods and the Rule of Law

Jurisprudence 2 (1):1-16 (2011)
Abstract
This paper focuses on the idea of the rule of law as found in neo-liberal political and legal theory. The central argument is that it is not possible to produce an account of the rule of law and its basic building blocks in such theories—namely freedom, rights and justice—without reference to a set of shared substantive values. The crucial argument is that if freedom is understood negatively, as the absence of coercion, it is not in fact possible to produce an account of coercion which detaches it from conceptions of the good. The impact of this argument is then analysed in relation to a range of themes, one of the central ones of which is that on the neo-liberal view the welfare state cannot be made compatible with the rule of law. The case for this important view is rejected in the paper
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