Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1403269
 
 

Citations (3)



 
 

Footnotes (62)



 


 



Was Austin Right after All?: On the Role of Sanctions in a Theory of Law


Frederick Schauer


University of Virginia School of Law

April 30, 2009

Ratio Juris, Vol. 22, 2009

Abstract:     
In modern jurisprudence it is taken as axiomatic that John Austin’s sanction-based account of law and legal obligation demolished in H.L.A. Hart’s The Concept of Law, but Hart’s victory and the deficiencies of the Austinian account may not be so clear. Not only does the alleged linguistic distinction between being obliged and having an obligation fail to provide as much support for the idea of a sanction-independent legal obligation as is commonly thought, but the soundness of Hart’s claims, as well as the claims of many legal theorists who have followed him, depend on a contested view of the nature of legal theory. If the task of a theory of law, as Joseph Raz and others have influentially argued, is to identify the essential features of the concept of law, then the theoretical possibility, if not the empirical reality, of a sanction-free legal system is what is most important. But if the task of a theory of law is to provide philosophical and theoretical illumination of law as it exists and as it is experienced, then a theory of law that fails to give a central place to law’s coercive reality may for that reason be deficient as a theory of law. The question of the soundness of the Austinian account, therefore, may be a function of the answer to the question of what a theory of law is designed to accomplish.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 31

Accepted Paper Series


Download This Paper

Date posted: May 21, 2009  

Suggested Citation

Schauer, Frederick, Was Austin Right after All?: On the Role of Sanctions in a Theory of Law (April 30, 2009). Ratio Juris, Vol. 22, 2009. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1403269

Contact Information

Frederick Schauer (Contact Author)
University of Virginia School of Law ( email )
580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States
434-924-6777 (Phone)

Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 2,618
Downloads: 773
Download Rank: 15,726
Citations:  3
Footnotes:  62

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo3 in 1.078 seconds