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In this Article, Professor Greenawalt examines the strengths and weaknesses of arguments asserting the existence of a natural duty to obey the law. He begins by defining "natural duty," and then investigates this concept in the theories of John Finnis, John Rawls, Tony Honore, Philip Soper, and John Mackie. Drawing upon the similarities of these theories, Professor Greenawalt questions the nature, reach, and force of the natural duty to obey, considering, among other things, whether the duty extends to laws that are unjust or to laws with which few others comply, and examining more generally when duties should be understood as not depending on consequences. He also examines the tension between natural duties and the possible beneficial effects of disobedience, concluding that the natural duty to obey the law does not always override considerations of consequence.


Law | Natural Law

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