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Daniel Loick

According to Christoph Menke, there never was and never can be any law without violence. The reason for this dependency of law on violence lies in its need to be enforced; Menke follows Immanuel Kant's definition according to which law consists in a reciprocal authority to use coercion. Immanuel Kant's definition has been extremely influential, not only in legal and political philosophy, but also in public discourse and in our everyday understanding of law and legal matters. Over centuries, Jewish legal traditions have not only theoretically reflected, but also reliably practiced, a law without any recourse to state-sanctioned violence. Interestingly though, due to the conditions of the Diaspora, Jewish law cannot have recourse to any governmental apparatus of power by way of an enforcement agency. By introducing an argument concerning the strategy of social transformation, Menke leaves the terrain of legal philosophy in favor of a philosophy of history.

in Law and violence