Force, Power, and Motive

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Stephen R. Yarbrough, Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Are laws simply orders backed by threats? Stanley Fish, in his essay "Force," affirms that they are by attacking H. L. Hart's objections to the view that laws are merely deferrals of force. According to Fish, "Hart objects that this view fails to distinguish the law and its operations from the action of the gunman who 'orders his victim to hand over his purse, and threatens to shoot him if he refuses'" (Hart 1962, 6; qtd. in Fish 1989, 502). But the distinction between law and force, Fish insists, is a difference that makes no difference. Why? Because most laws are subject to interpretation, and interpretation, as Hart admits, is a form of force.

Additional Information

Philosophy and Rhetoric 29(4): 344-358.
Language: English
Date: 1996
Stanley Fish, laws, “Force”, interpretation, determinate rules

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