Philosophy Compass 8 (3):231-240 (2013)

Robert C. Hughes
University of Pennsylvania
Though political philosophers often presuppose that coercive enforcement is fundamental to law, many legal philosophers have doubted this. This article explores doubts of two types. Some legal philosophers argue that given an adequate account of coercion and coerciveness, the enforcement of law in actual legal systems will generally not count as coercive. Others accept that actual legal systems enforce many laws coercively, but they deny that law has a necessary connection with coercion. There can be individual laws that lack coercive sanctions, and it is at least conceptually possible for there to be a legal system that lacks coercive enforcement altogether. This article then examines why most political philosophers and some legal philosophers have been reluctant to treat the conceptual possibility of non-coercive law as significant.
Keywords coercion  enforcement  nature of law
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DOI 10.1111/phc3.12013
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References found in this work BETA

The Concept of Law.Hla Hart - 1961 - Oxford University Press.
The Morality of Freedom.Joseph Raz - 1986 - Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Are Health Nudges Coercive?Muireann Quigley - 2014 - Monash Bioethics Review 32 (1-2):141-158.
Pay Secrecy, Discrimination, and Autonomy.Matthew Caulfield - 2021 - Journal of Business Ethics 171 (2):399-420.
Law and Coercion: Some Clarification.Lucas Miotto - 2021 - Ratio Juris 34 (1):74-87.

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