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Essays on BenthamJurisprudence and Political Philosophy$
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H. L. A. Hart

Print publication date: 1982

Print ISBN-13: 9780198254683

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198254683.001.0001

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Commands and Authoritative Legal Reasons

Commands and Authoritative Legal Reasons

(p.243) X Commands and Authoritative Legal Reasons
Essays on Bentham

H. L. A. Hart

Oxford University Press

This chapter first examines critically Bentham's account of what a command is and the curious theory of assertion, indeed of meaning, on which his analysis in part rests. It then shows that though Bentham's account of what a command is is in various ways defective, he does touch on certain elements embedded in the notion of command out of which the idea of an authoritative legal reason may be illuminatingly constructed. Thirdly and lastly it raises the question whether it is possible to bring the notion of an authoritative legal reason into the analysis of the relevant legal phenomenon without surrendering the conceptual separation of law and morality.

Keywords:   theory of assertion, command, legal reason, law and morality, Bentham, sanctions

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