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Philosophical Foundations of the Nature of Law$
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Wil Waluchow and Stefan Sciaraffa

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199675517

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199675517.001.0001

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

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

Chapter:
(p.152) 7 A Comprehensive Hartian Theory of Legal Obligation: Social Pressure, Coercive Enforcement, and the Legal Obligations of Citizens*
Source:
Philosophical Foundations of the Nature of Law
Author(s):

Kenneth Einar Himma

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199675517.003.0008

This chapter attempts to broaden the scope of the Hartian theory of social obligation by including two kinds of social norms that can create social obligations: firstly, norms that govern a group because the members of the group accept and practice those rules; and, secondly, norms that are imposed on a set of subjects who acquiesce and conform to the requirements of the norm. The theory of social obligation sketched here retains the Hartian idea that it is the authorization of social pressure for violations of the norm that partly constitutes the norm as obligatory. In particular, the theory explains and identifies the particular binding mechanism for social obligations: a distinctive reason for action that explains the sense in which a social norm, including a valid law, has a special binding force and is necessarily, if not conclusively, normative. The authorization of coercive enforcement mechanisms, as Hart observes, for non-compliance is a form of social pressure.

Keywords:   H. L. A. Hart, social obligation, social norms, social pressure, binding force, coercive enforcement

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