Motivation and Control.

David Lyons

in In the Interest of the Governed

Published in print July 1991 | ISBN: 9780198239642
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191679971 | DOI:
Motivation and Control.

Show Summary Details


This chapter presents a further discussion of Bentham's concept of the law. Permissive laws are necessarily uncoercive and unobligative, for on Bentham's analysis they are purely permissive and not at all restrictive. But even Bentham's restrictive or ‘imperative’ laws are not necessarily coercive or obligative. Bentham was unclear about the relations between sanctions and the restrictions they are supposed to support, but he did indicate that laws used only to lay down guidelines for behaviour can be neither coercive nor obligative. Some laws might rely on extra-legal sanctions entirely, and rewards might be used instead of punishments to motivate behaviour. Bentham allowed these things to be possible, but he maintained that they would not be wise: he thought that rewards and extralegal sanctions were so unreliable that any guidelines worth propounding ought to be supported firmly by legally authorized coercive sanctions.

Keywords: Bentham; law; force; coercive sanctions; motivation; social control

Chapter.  4869 words. 

Subjects: Social and Political Philosophy

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.