Legal Duty and Obligation

H. L. A. Hart

in Essays on Bentham

Published in print November 1982 | ISBN: 9780198254683
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191681509 | DOI:
Legal Duty and Obligation

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This chapter gives a compressed account of Bentham's doctrine in a discussion of his theories of legal duty and obligation which he frequently takes as an example of a logical fiction and as a paradigm to exhibit his special method of analysis. Bentham used this doctrine of logical fictions to dissipate the idea that words like ‘duty’, ‘obligation’, and ‘right’ were names of mysterious entities awaiting men's discovery and incorporation of them in man-made laws or social rules. Words like ‘duty’, ‘obligation’, and ‘right’ did indeed, according to Bentham, require special methods of analysis which he invented for logical fictions as a substitute for the straightforward form of definition by genus and species which he held inapplicable to them.

Keywords: legal duty; obligations; logical fiction; social rules; man-made rules; right

Chapter.  14227 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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