What the Sovereign Can’t Do

in Hobbes Studies
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One of the central claims of Larry May’s Limiting Leviathan (Oxford University Press, 2013) is that Hobbes’s theory of law is best understood as a kind of “procedural natural law” theory akin to the one developed by Lon Fuller in the mid-twentieth century. May’s interpretation of Hobbes suggests at least two different views of the role of equity as a constraint on legal validity; neither of them bears any important affinities with Fuller’s theory. May however makes a stronger case that Hobbes and Fuller share broadly similar views about how and why citizens have an obligation to obey the law; the affinities between the two are therefore found in their theories of political obligation rather than in their theories of law.

What the Sovereign Can’t Do

in Hobbes Studies




 See Colleen Murphy“Lon Fuller and the Moral Value of the Rule of Law,” Law and Philosophy (2005) 24: 239–262.


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