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Wildy’s Book News

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Vol 22 No 5 May/June 2017

Book of the Month

Cover of Arlidge, Eady & Smith on Contempt

Arlidge, Eady & Smith on Contempt

Edited by: Patricia Londono, David Eady, A.T.H. Smith, Rt. Hon Lord Eassie
Price: £319.00

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The Duty to Obey the Law

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ISBN13: 9780847692545
ISBN: 084769254X
Published: July 2001
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
Format: Hardback
Price: £59.95



The question ""why should I obey the law?"" introduces a puzzle that is as old as philosophy itself. The puzzle is especially troublesome if we think of cases in which breaking the law is not otherwise wrongful, and in which the chances of getting caught are negligible. Philosophers from Socrates to H.L.A. Hart have struggled to give reasoned support to the idea that we do have a general moral duty to obey the law but, more recently, the greater number of learned voices has expressed doubt that there is any such duty, at least as traditionally conceived.;The thought that there is no such duty poses a challenge to our ordinary understanding of political authority and its legitimacy. In what sense can political officials have a right to rule if there is no duty to obey the laws they lay down? Some thinkers, concluding that a general duty to obey the law cannot be defended, have gone so far as to embrace philosophical anarchism, the view that the state is necessarily illegitimate. Others argue that the duty to obey the law can be grounded on the idea of consent, or on fairness, or on other ideas, such as community. This work contains essays from leading legal and political philosophers, all directly addressing the question of our duty to obey the law. Contributors include Leslie Green, A. John Simmons, M.B.E. Smith, Philip Soper, Jeremy Waldron, and Robert Paul Wolff.

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