The Normative Force of Law: Individuals and States

Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Law 3(2018), 87-122

NYU School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 19-05

37 Pages Posted: 3 Jan 2019 Last revised: 16 Jan 2019

See all articles by Liam Murphy

Liam Murphy

New York University School of Law

Date Written: March 16, 2018

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Murphy, Liam B., The Normative Force of Law: Individuals and States (March 16, 2018). Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Law 3(2018), 87-122; NYU School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 19-05. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3300968

Liam B. Murphy (Contact Author)

New York University School of Law ( email )

40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States

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