Chapter

The Acceptance of Law

Roger A. Shiner

in Norm and Nature

Published in print September 1992 | ISBN: 9780198257196
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191681721 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198257196.003.0007

Series: Clarendon Law Series

The Acceptance of Law

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Sophisticated positivism argued two main theses about the acceptance of law. The first is that the minimum necessary and sufficient conditions for the existence of a legal system are satisfied in the case where no one has the internal point of view towards the primary rules of the system, and only the officials have the internal point of view towards the secondary rules. ‘Have the internal point of view’ is equivalent to ‘accept’. The second is that ‘accept’ means no more than ‘regard as a common standard of behaviour’, and thus may be instantiated by a range of attitudes which may amount to, but which also may fall short of, full commitment to the standards as morally worthy. This chapter re-examines sophisticated positivism's account of the acceptance of law. It shows that it is not possible to avoid an account of the law as coercive without abandoning positivism.

Keywords: legal theory; legal philosophy; sophisticated positivism; acceptance of law

Chapter.  10019 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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