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date: 16 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Rule of law is widely considered to be an important element of a well-ordered society. It is an ideal of political morality that is realized to a greater or lesser extent in different legal systems. However, the rule of law is not a basic or fundamental ideal. Its normative significance is explained by its contribution to other, more fundamental, values. This chapter discusses the content of the rule of law (the institutional mechanisms and informal norms that comprise it) and the contribution that it makes to individual or personal freedom. The chapter presents an account of political freedom that relates freedom to the ability of persons to plan their lives. This planning account of freedom is just one component of a full theory of political freedom, but it is the component that best accounts for why the rule of law contributes to personal freedom.

Keywords: Rule of law, planning, freedom, autonomy, legal system

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