At the beginning of The Concept of Law Hart suggests a mistaken assimilation between conduct that is ‘non-optional’ and conduct that is ‘obligatory’ (i.e,. conduct that is either coerced or subject to an obligation). This suggested assimilation vitiates the argument of the whole book, leading Hart to neglect the different ways in which the law typically tracks, corroborates or constitutes power relations. It is true that, famously, attention is paid, in The Concept of Law, to normative, legal powers. Brute social power, and law’s relation to it—the role of law as a cog in the workings of social powers—, however, are largely overlooked. This is. in a way, Hart’s blind spot.I list some of the ways, other from coercion or obligation, in which the law may happen to serve, corroborate or be an instrument of social power. I also show that Hart’s treatment of the relations between the law and political power, in The Concept of Law, is unsatisfactory. Both his reconstruction of the ideal genesis of a developed legal system and the argument supporting a ‘minimal content of natural law’ presuppose the idea of a social group in which no power relationships subsist.
|Number of pages||18|
|Publication status||Published - 2014|