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Command: linguistic expression of an instruction to act. The command has the form of a non-descriptive sentence. It can not be true or false.

Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

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H. L. A. Hart on Commands - Dictionary of Arguments

Gaus I 201
Commands/Hart/Morris: What is crucial to note about these rationales is that they implicitly understand sanctions to be secondary. Coercion and force are thus rationalized but only as supplementary measures. And this is as it should be: the law's primary appeal is to its authority. Hart: Hart notes this early in his discussion of command theories of law: 'To command is characteristically to exercise authority over men, not power to inflict harm, and though it may be combined with threats of harm a command is primarily an appeal not to fear but to respect for authority' (1994(1): 20). Authorities guide behaviour by providing reasons for action to their subjects. Something is an authority in this sense only if its directives are meant to be reasons for action (see: Raz, 1979; 1986(2); Green, 1988(3)). One does not understand law and, more generally, states if one does not see coercion and force as supplementary to authority. Coercion and force are needed when the state's authority is unappreciated, defective, or absent. >Sanctions/Morris, >State/Morris, >Coercion/Morris.

1. Hart, H. L. A. (1994) The Concept of Law, 2nd edn. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
2. Raz, Joseph (1979) The Authority of Law. Oxford: Clarendon.
3. Green, Leslie (1988) The Authority of the State. Oxford: Clarendon.

Morris, Christopher W. 2004. „The Modern State“. In: Gaus, Gerald F. & Kukathas, Chandran 2004. Handbook of Political Theory. SAGE Publications

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Hart, H. L. A.
Gaus I
Gerald F. Gaus
Chandran Kukathas
Handbook of Political Theory London 2004

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