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Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy, Volume 2$
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David Sobel, Peter Vallentyne, and Steven Wall

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198759621

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198759621.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 21 September 2021

Domination and the Rule of Law

Domination and the Rule of Law

(p.128) 5 Domination and the Rule of Law
Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy, Volume 2

Assaf Sharon

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that contemporary republicanism is mistaken in its claim that the rule of law is compatible with individual liberty (understood as non-domination), because it is non-arbitrary. It considers three republican definitions of non-arbitrariness—in terms of consent, interests, and control—and argues that all three are dubious and that the rule of law does not satisfy any of them. The chapter then analyzes republican concerns with arbitrariness as resistance towards discretionary powers and argues, finally, that the republican idea of eliminating discretionary power is not always desirable or essential to political freedom. Discretionary powers are not necessarily dominating and may be independently desirable, and non-discretionary powers can be dominating. The exclusive focus on arbitrary interferences with liberty obscures principal forms of political domination.

Keywords:   republicanism, domination, individual liberty, arbitrary power, discretion, rule of law

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