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This book is concerned with the nature of law and its relation to morality, concentrating on the proper moral attitude of a citizen towards the law of his country. The author begins by presenting a new analysis of the concept of legitimate authority and then gives a detailed explanation of the legal positivist's approach to law. Within this framework the author examines several areas where legal analysis is often thought to be impregnated with moral values, namely the social functions of law, the ideals of the rule of law, and the role of the courts.
The last part of the book is devoted to some key substantive problems. The author argues that there is no obligation to obey the law. He provides a new analysis of respect for law, emphasizing its moral importance. The author maintains there is no right to civil disobedience in a liberal state (though actos of civil disobedience may occasionally be justified even in such a state) and he argues for a right of conscientious objection in certain areas.