Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2141033
 


 



A Comprehensive Hartian Theory of Legal Obligation: Social Pressure, Coercive Enforcement, and the Legal Obligations of Citizens


Kenneth Einar Himma


University of Washington - School of Law

September 4, 2012

THE NATURE OF LAW: CONTEMPORARY PERSPECTIVES, Wilfrid Waluchow, Stefan Sciaraffa, eds., Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013

Abstract:     
The concept of legal obligation is utterly central to legal practice. But positivism lacks a comprehensive account of legal obligation, focusing only on the second-order recognition obligations of officials with no account of the first-order legal obligations of citizen. As legal obligations are conceptually related to legally valid norms, this failure calls into question positivism’s theory of legal validity. In this essay, I attempt to remedy this omission. I augment Hart’s theory of second-order official obligation by attempting to ground a theory of first-order obligation of citizens in a modification of what I take to be Hart’s analysis of social obligation. The first-order obligations of citizens are partly constituted by social pressure in the form of the authorization of the state’s coercive machinery for non-compliance.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 28

Keywords: positivism, obligation, social norms, primary norms, social obligation, Hart, legal obligation, coercion, enforcement

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Date posted: September 4, 2012  

Suggested Citation

Himma, Kenneth Einar, A Comprehensive Hartian Theory of Legal Obligation: Social Pressure, Coercive Enforcement, and the Legal Obligations of Citizens (September 4, 2012). THE NATURE OF LAW: CONTEMPORARY PERSPECTIVES, Wilfrid Waluchow, Stefan Sciaraffa, eds., Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2141033

Contact Information

Kenneth Einar Himma (Contact Author)
University of Washington - School of Law ( email )
William Gates Hall
Box 353020
Seattle, WA 98195-3020
United States
206-543-4550 (Phone)
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