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date: 19 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article explores grounds for scepticism and measures its implications for legal theory. It distinguishes law from all other forms of social order. Some views misrepresent the constraint that the obligatory character of law places on legal theory, for they elide three different questions namely, normativity of law, legitimacy, and obligation. They are jointly compatible with the most stringent legal positivism or natural law. They help anchor an account of allegiance to law. The career of consent theory in the face of its evident failure of universality is a history of its extension, dilution, and ultimately subversion. The article debates about whether political obligation is somehow inevitable or necessary. The accumulated failures of all voluntary and non-voluntary theories strongly suggest that there is no obligation to obey law.

Keywords: skepticism, normativity, legitimacy, consent theory, obligation

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