Fundamental legal concepts: The Hohfeldian framework

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Wesley Newcomb Hohfeld’s account of legal rights is now 100 years old. It has been much discussed, and remains very influential with philosophers and lawyers alike. Yet it is still sometimes misunderstood in crucial respects. This article offers a rigorous exposition (with some revisions) of Hohfeld’s framework; discusses its claims to comprehensiveness and fundamentality, reviewing recent work on the topic; and highlights the argumentative uses of Hohfeld’s most important distinction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)554-569
JournalPhilosophy Compass
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2016


  • rights
  • duties
  • liberties
  • powers
  • legal relations
  • Hohfeld


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