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Christopher W. Morris on Coercion - Dictionary of Arguments

Gaus I 200
Coercion/Morris: connected. Consider a 'state' without law, or one whose jurisdiction was not territorial. We would not consider it to be a genuine state. Law and territoriality are essential properties of states, part of the concept of a state. >State/Morris.
Coercion: Contrast these properties with coercion or force. We can conceive of a state which
does not employ coercion or force. There is nothing in the nature of a law which requires that compliance be assured coercively. It does not seem to be, then, a conceptual truth that states are coercive.
MorrisVsRawls: Why might we think, with Rawls, that 'political power is always coercive power backed up by the government's use of sanctions'? Perhaps because of the conjunction of law and sanction. But that connection is not necessary. Some laws are not enforced by sanctions (for instance, laws governing the obligations of officials, laws establishing powers, constitutional laws). Attempts to understand the law in terms of the coercive commands of a sovereign are implausible (see Austin, 1885(1), for the classic formulation of this position; and Hart, 1994(2), for the classic refutation). >Sanctions/Morris, >Law/Morris.


1. Austin, John (1995 t 18851) The Province of Jurisprudence Determined. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
2. Hart, H. L. A. (1994) The Concept of Law, 2nd edn. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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


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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. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Morris, Christopher W.
Gaus I
Gerald F. Gaus
Chandran Kukathas
Handbook of Political Theory London 2004


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