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The Concept of Law

The Concept of Law (3rd edn)

HLA Hart, Joseph Raz, and Penelope A. Bulloch
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date: 20 August 2022

I. Persistent Questionslocked

I. Persistent Questionslocked

  • H. L. A. HartH. L. A. Hartlate Professor of Jurisprudence, Principal of Brasenose College, and Fellow of University College, University of Oxford

Abstract

Celebrated for their conceptual clarity, titles in the Clarendon Law Series offer concise, accessible overviews of major fields of law and legal thought. This chapter examines three recurrent issues about the nature of law. The issues are: How does law differ from and how is it related to orders backed by threats? How does legal obligation differ from, and how is it related to, moral obligation? What are rules and to what extent is law an affair of rules? To dispel doubt and any perplexity on these three issues has been the chief aim of most speculation about the ‘nature’ of law. The chapter discusses why this speculation has usually been conceived as a search for the definition of law, and why the familiar forms of definition have done so little to resolve the persistent difficulties and doubts.

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