Chapter

Coercion and Law

Neil MacCormick

in Legal Right and Social Democracy

Published in print March 1984 | ISBN: 9780198255024
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191681561 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198255024.003.0012
Coercion and Law

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This chapter provides a discussion on the widely held view that law — positive law — is essentially coercive. It offers an analysis of the concept of coercion, and then discusses the questions of whether law does actually, and whether law must tautologically, involve coercion in any of the senses analysed. This chapter starts by reflecting on physical force, particularly on the ideas of enforced action and suffering. In the bygoing, it casts doubt on the currently received views about ‘legal sanctions’; indeed, it also suggests abandonment of that concept as it is currently understood. The argument presented in this chapter runs parallel to some of the points made by Joseph Raz in the concluding sections of his Practical Reason and Norms.

Keywords: law; coercive; physical force; legal sanctions; Practical Reason and Norms; coercion; Joseph Raz

Chapter.  6359 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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