The End of Law
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The End of Law

How Law’s Claims Relate to Law’s Aims

David McIlroy

The End of Law applies Augustine’s questions to modern legal philosophy as well as offering a critical theory of natural law that draws on Augustine’s ideas. McIlroy argues that such a critical natural law theory is: realistic but not cynical about law’s relationship to justice and to violence, can diagnose ways in which law becomes deformed and pathological, and indicates that law is a necessary but insufficient instrument for the pursuit of justice. Positioning an examination of Augustine’s reflections on law in the context of his broader thought, McIlroy presents an alternative approach to natural law theory, drawing from critical theory, postmodern thought, and political theologies in conversation with Augustine.
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Chapter 3: An end to war

David McIlroy

Abstract

Law’s implication in violence cannot be denied. Law employs force in order to enact what it calls justice. The threat of force, both the force exerted by the law and the violence which would exist apart from the law, is essential to law. The regimes which establish legal systems have violent origins. The modern state does not claim a monopoly on violence, rather it subjects all violence within its domain to the requirement of justification. Law promises those who it treats as subjects that its rules are of benefit to them because they will be followed by all those to whom they apply. Those a legal system treats as mere objects, such as chattel-slaves, are not subject to law they are objects of violence. Where the law protects no-one effectively against violence, the legal system has collapsed entirely; the regime is nothing more than a band of robbers

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