Cover: The Force of Law, from Harvard University PressCover: The Force of Law in HARDCOVER

The Force of Law

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$41.00 • £35.95 • €37.95

ISBN 9780674368217

Publication Date: 02/10/2015


256 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches


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Drawing upon language, moral, sociological, and economic theory, Schauer explores what makes legal norms unique and why and under what conditions individuals truly obey the law. He asserts that although coercion may not be the only reason people obey the law, often getting individuals to act in ways they would not normally act requires some type of force. This force need not necessarily be negative coercion as normally conceived but can involve an array of sanctions to condition behavior in specific ways.—D. Schultz, Choice

Modern jurisprudence has been devoted to a search for law’s necessary and sufficient conditions and has downgraded the importance of coercion, which is neither. However, Fred Schauer makes a convincing case for coercion’s importance in understanding law and legal phenomena. His treatment of the topic is erudite, comprehensive, rigorous, and even witty, and it is delivered in a superb writing style.—Lawrence A. Alexander, University of San Diego School of Law

The Force of Law has the virtues of all of Schauer’s work: clear and accessible writing, the grounding of persuasive arguments on good examples and a wide range of scholarship, and fair consideration of opposing views. It is an important contribution to jurisprudential debates about the nature of law and about the proper approach to theorizing in this area.—Brian H. Bix, University of Minnesota Law School

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