Publication details for Dr Kara Woodbury-SmithWoodbury-Smith, Kara (2020). The Nature of Law and Potential Coercion. Ratio Juris 33(2): 223-240.
- Publication type: Journal Article
- ISSN/ISBN: 1467-9337
- DOI: 10.1111/raju.12288
- Further publication details on publisher web site
- Durham Research Online (DRO) - may include full text
Author(s) from Durham
This paper argues for a novel understanding of the relationship between law and coercion. It firstly refutes Kenneth Himma’s claim that the authorisation of coercive enforcement mechanisms is a conceptually necessary feature of law. It then claims that the best way to understand the law is as coercion‐apt. The “coercion‐aptness” of law is clarified, in part, by appealing to an essential distinction between law and morality: Whereas it can be reasonable for the law to appeal to coercive means in order to motivate compliance, it seems decidedly unreasonable for morality to do so.