The Normative Force of Law: Individuals and States
Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Law 3(2018), 87-122
37 Pages Posted: 3 Jan 2019 Last revised: 16 Jan 2019
Date Written: March 16, 2018
This paper discusses the question of whether individuals and states have duties to comply with law. It argues against all deontological accounts, and defends an instrumental account. On the instrumental account, private individuals frequently have no moral reason to comply with law. High government officials, and states, by contrast, typically have strong moral reason to comply. One upshot is that areas of law that are often regarded as in some sense marginal, such as international law and underenforced constitutional law, are in fact where law has its greatest moral force.
Keywords: law, compliance, prima facie duty
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