A Hohfeldian Analysis of Hobbesian Rights

Law and Philosophy 32 (4):405-434 (2013)
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Abstract

This paper has a threefold purpose: first, to criticize the customary application of Hohfeld’s theory of rights to Hobbes’s juridical/political theory that reduces all Hobbesian rights to Hohfeldian privileges; second, to defend the appropriateness of a proper application of a Hohfeldian analysis of rights to Hobbes’s theory by responding to criticisms offered by Eleanor Curran; and, lastly, to reveal the value a Hohfeldian analysis offers in clarifying a Hobbesian right that has been generally misunderstood in the literature. I argue that a Hohfeldian analysis helps make sense of the complex juridical relationships between the sovereign, the perpetrator of crime, and the victim of crime involved in Hobbes’s treatment of the sovereign’s right to punish

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Arthur Yates
University of Western Ontario

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