Law and Philosophy 29 (5):535-569 (2010)

Authors
Pavlos Eleftheriadis
Oxford University
Abstract
How is it possible that the idea of sovereignty still features in legal and political philosophy? Most contemporary political philosophers have little use for the idea of ‘unlimited’ or ‘absolute’ power, which is how sovereignty is normally defined. A closer look at sovereignty identifies two possible accounts: sovereignty as the fact of power or sovereignty as a title to govern. The first option, which was pursued by John Austin’s command theory of law, leads to an unfamiliar view of law and the state, which was justly criticised by H. L. A. Hart. The second option, leads to a paradox, because under this view sovereignty is both limited and unlimited. Hence, this argument shows that law and sovereignty are actually incompatible. Where there is law there is no sovereignty, and where there is sovereignty there is no law.
Keywords Philosophy   Logic   Political Science   Social Sciences, general   Law Theory/Law Philosophy   Philosophy of Law
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DOI 10.1007/s10982-010-9077-7
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Strong Popular Sovereignty and Constitutional Legitimacy.George Duke - 2017 - European Journal of Political Theory 19 (3):354-374.
Popular Sovereignty Facing the Deep State. The Rule of Recognition and the Powers of the People.Ludvig Beckman - forthcoming - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy:1-23.
E Pluribus Unum? The Manifold Meanings of Sovereignty.Raf6 Geenens - 2016 - Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy 45 (2):15-36.

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