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date: 23 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Both Thomas Hobbes and John Austin identify civil law with commands issued by a sovereign; thus it is common to think of Austin’s theory of law as closely continuous with Hobbes’s view. Yet this “command of the sovereign” formulation masks deep differences between Hobbes and Austin, not only in their understandings of command and sovereign but also in the commitments that gave rise to their offering theories of law formulated in these terms. Nor is it correct to think that innovations in Hobbes’s conception of law paved the way for Austin’s more full-blown legal positivism: Hobbes’s jurisprudence is, in fundamentals, closely akin to Thomas Aquinas’s natural law jurisprudence. The idea that Hobbes and Austin are jurisprudential allies ought to be abandoned.

Keywords: Hobbes, Austin, Aquinas, law, command of the sovereign, natural law jurisprudence

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