What Makes Law Coercive When it Is Coercive

Lucas Miotto Lopes*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Most legal and political philosophers agree that typical legal systems are coercive. But there is no extant account of what typically makes typical legal systems coercive when they are coercive. This paper presents such an account and compares it with four alternative views. Towards the end I discuss the proposed account’s payoffs. Among other things, I show how it can help us explain what I call ‘comparative judgements’ about coercive legal systems (judgements such as ‘Legal system a is more coercive than legal system b’) and how it can help the development of social scientific inquiries into the coerciveness of our legal systems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-250
Number of pages16
JournalArchiv für Rechts- und Sozialphilosophie
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • legal philosophy
  • general jurisprudence
  • analytical jurisprudence
  • coercion
  • coerciveness of legal systems
  • sanctions
  • Rechtsphilosophie
  • Rechtswissenschaft
  • analytische Rechtswissenschaft
  • Zwang
  • Zwanghaftigkeit des Rechtssystems
  • Sanktionen

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