What the Sovereign Can't Do

Hobbes Studies, Vol. 27, No. 2, pp. 191-198, 2014

Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 14/60

11 Pages Posted: 3 Jul 2014 Last revised: 11 Sep 2014

See all articles by Michael Sevel

Michael Sevel

The University of Sydney Law School

Date Written: July 2, 2014

Abstract

One of the central claims of Larry May’s Limiting Leviathan (Oxford University Press, 2013) is that Hobbes’s theory of law is best understood as a kind of “procedural natural law” theory akin to the one developed by Lon Fuller in the mid-twentieth century. May’s interpretation of Hobbes suggests at least two different views of the role of equity as a constraint on legal validity; neither of them bears any important affinities with Fuller’s theory. May however makes a stronger case that Hobbes and Fuller share broadly similar views about how and why citizens have an obligation to obey the law; the affinities between the two are therefore found in their theories of political obligation rather than in their theories of law.

Keywords: Hobbes, jurisprudence, philosophy of law, authority, sovereignty, legal positivism, Lon Fuller

JEL Classification: K10, K30

Suggested Citation

Sevel, Michael, What the Sovereign Can't Do (July 2, 2014). Hobbes Studies, Vol. 27, No. 2, pp. 191-198, 2014, Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 14/60, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2461945

Michael Sevel (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

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