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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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Legal Duty and Obligation

Legal Duty and Obligation

Chapter:
(p.127) VI Legal Duty and Obligation
Source:
Essays on Bentham
Author(s):

H. L. A. Hart

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198254683.003.0007

This chapter gives a compressed account of Bentham's doctrine in a discussion of his theories of legal duty and obligation which he frequently takes as an example of a logical fiction and as a paradigm to exhibit his special method of analysis. Bentham used this doctrine of logical fictions to dissipate the idea that words like ‘duty’, ‘obligation’, and ‘right’ were names of mysterious entities awaiting men's discovery and incorporation of them in man-made laws or social rules. Words like ‘duty’, ‘obligation’, and ‘right’ did indeed, according to Bentham, require special methods of analysis which he invented for logical fictions as a substitute for the straightforward form of definition by genus and species which he held inapplicable to them.

Keywords:   legal duty, obligations, logical fiction, social rules, man-made rules, right

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