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The Practice of PrincipleIn Defence of a Pragmatist Approach to Legal Theory$
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Jules Coleman

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780199264124

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199264124.001.0001

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Authority and Reason

Authority and Reason

(p.120) Lecture Nine— Authority and Reason
The Practice of Principle


Oxford University Press

This chapter considers what Joseph Raz in particular finds objectionable in legal positivism. Raz believes that law’s claim to legitimate authority could only be true if it is possible to identify legal norms that their content by appealing to social source alone. It is argued that even if Raz is right about law’s conceptually necessary claim to authority, the sources thesis as a legal theory of validity does not follow from it. The chapter grants all of Raz’s claims about legal authority, but denies that they have all of the implications he claims they do.

Keywords:   legal theory, legal positivism, Joseph Raz, normativity, legal authority

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